Nursing Home Week puts spotlight on elderly

This article submitted by Linda Stelling & Stephanie Everson on 05/13/97.

National Nursing Home Week, May 11-17, puts the emphasizes on the residents and those who care or them. Paynesville has two nursing home facilities to care for the elderly and disabled in the community: Good Samaritan Care Center and the Koronis Manor.

Both facilities provide short and long-term care, socialization and recreational opportunities for its residents. Area churches and organizations lead bingo, help with bowling, darts, crafts, singing, and worship services.

Lifelong friends become roommates
Gertrude Jacobson and Myrtle Hagen, residents of the Good Samaritan Care Center in Paynesville, are as spry as ever. Lifelong friends, they both moved to the Good Samaritan last year, but after Gertie's roommate passed away, they were both surprised to become roommates. The arrangement couldn't have worked out better.

Gertrude, 89, was born in Lester Prairie and moved to the Manannah area with her family, the Gazins, when she was eight years old. In 1930 she married Alvin Jacobson, Myrtle's cousin, and they moved onto the Jacobson farm, where they raised two sons and one daughter. In 1982, Gertie and her husband moved to Paynesville and their nephew's son, Loren Pearson, bought their farm, where he still lives and works.

Myrtle, 93, who calls Gertrude a "kid," grew up south of Hawick with her family, the Hansons. In 1922 she married Alvin Hagen, and they moved onto his family's farm, from which, at the age of four, her husband saw the Nordland Lutheran Church burn down from a lightning strike in 1904. They also raised three children, two daughters and a son. In 1952 their son Myron took over the farm, and now, Myron's son, Blair, runs it.

Both Myrtle and Gertie are proud that their family farms qualify as century farms; Myrtle's in 1998, and Gertie's in 1999. Myrtle is looking forward to next year when she and her family will be recognized with the other century farms at the Willmar Fair.

Even though Gertie married Myrtle's cousin, the two women didn't meet each other until they went to the same birthday party. They became good friends, and for many years after that, organized many birthday and card parties, as well as enjoyed other occasions together.

Throughout the years, Myrtle and Gertrude have enjoyed many similar hobbies. Myrtle still does embroidery work on cloth, as well as for decorative edging on greeting cards. She donates a piece of her work to the Nordland Fest each year, the church where she and her late husband Alvin were baptized.

Gertrude and her late husband Olaf made many different craft items. Olaf carved various pieces of wooden doll furniture, as well as picture frames, and Gertie made beaded jewelry.

In addition to having similar interests, Myrtle and Gertie both have three children, as well as the same number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Gertie also has two great-great-grandchildren.

Now that Gertie and Myrtle are roommates, they help out staff members at the Good Samaritan Care Center by folding towels and sorting and folding plastic bags for the garbage cans. They also deliver the Paynesville Press to other residents each week. They are well thought of by both the staff and residents.

Three ladies exceed the century mark
The Koronis Manor has three residents who have exceeded the century mark: Elizabeth Hartmann an Edith Robbins are both 103 years old and Christine Fischbach is 102.

Fischbach is among the newest residents at the Koronis Manor. She moved in from her home on April 7 of this year. Fischbach said the family had a birthday party planned for her 102nd birthday on Jan. 15, but the weather didnít cooperate.

Fischbach grew up on a farm near Richmond and as a child moved to Paynesville area. As a young girl, she hired out for housekeeping and babysitting.

She and her husband were married in Richmond and they had eight children. ďWe farmed 265 acres,Ē she recalls. ďWe had lots of chickens and I sold the eggs all over the area,Ē she added.

Fischbach remembers attending card parties and big weddings as a young married woman. She said the dance floors were outside the barns and they had big celebrations.

Edith Robbins lived four miles northwest of Eden Valley on a farm until her marriage to Joe. The couple lived on three acres at Paynesville. Joe worked at the North American Creamery. Robbins raised a big garden of corn, pumpkins, squash, and potatoes in addition to pigs.

ďI enjoyed doing everything,Ē she said. ďI liked working and going to dances. My brother, Jay, was a square dance caller and he would sing at the parties, as well.Ē Robbins said her brother had a great big barn with a waxed hayloft floor for dances.

Robbins recalls as a young girl, her brother, Carl Hurd, would get to go out and play, but her mother made her stay in the house and play with her dolls.When she was with her father, he let her do almost anything from working in the field to helping with farm chores. ďEverything seemed to come natural to me. I could do almost everything from driving a plow with two horses to three or four horses. We had good horses they never stepped on anything,Ē she recalled.

The first car she can recall the family owning was an Essex. ďI didnít get to drive a car until after I was married,Ē she said.

Robbins says she doesnít like being 103 years old. ďI sounds terrible to be so old.Ē

Elizabeth Hartmann at 103 lives in her own little world. When people come to visit her, she sits in her wheelchair and smiles at the world around her.

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