by TaLeiza Calloway
Martha Kierzek doesn’t have any special recipe to share with others on how to make it to age 90. All she knows is she’s happy to have reached the milestone.
For someone who has survived a stroke and a brain tumor, she is always in good spirits. To her, that’s the only way to be.
“You’ve got to be in good spirits if you want to live that long,” she said.
Kierzek turned 90 years old April 26. The St. Joseph resident, who currently resides at Arlington Place, said she never really thought about hitting the age but admits she’s grateful for the journey along the way.
“It’s just a number,” she said. “I never thought about it before.”
She recently celebrated her birthday with a big party hosted by her children and family. That gathering was all the reminder she needed about the gift of another year of life. She and her late husband, John, have three children – two boys and one girl. Most of her family attended the festivities that were held in Savage, where much of her family lives.
“It was just awesome,” she said of the gathering. “They did a good job. There were so many people. I had at least 80 guests.”
Those guests traveled from not only Minnesota, but states including Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, California and Hawaii. When she saw all those people, she immediately thought “Oh no, not 90. What did I do in all those years?”
It was quite the gathering. What she liked most was seeing people she hadn’t seen in years and watching them dance. She even did the “chicken dance” with some of her guests, she said with a laugh.
When asked about the most memorable part of her life, she looks to her legacy. When her daughter, Rita, gave birth to her first grandchild, Susan, she was too excited for words.
“I didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl,” she said. “I was just excited.”
Family is very important to the Minnesota native who hails from St. Anna. She is the third oldest of 10 children, a proud grandmother of six and has eight great-grandchildren.
Another fond memory for her was traveling to Arizona during the winter. She and her family did that every year for about 27 years. She loved those days.
These days one can find her playing cards or listening to what she calls old-time music. Her words of wisdom on living a long life are simple: “Work hard and stay active.”