St. Joseph resident Clara Stueve turned 100 years old Aug. 28. The Richmond native is a resident at Arlington Place in St. Joseph.
St. Joseph resident Helen Parich turned 100 Aug. 8. The Hibbing native lives at Arlington Place in St. Joseph.
by TaLeiza Calloway
Helen Parich and Clara Stueve don’t have any secrets to living a long life.
They worked hard throughout their lives, raised their families and take life one day at a time. It just so happens they have lived a long life and each turned 100 last month.
Parich was born Aug. 8, 1912. Stueve was born 20 days later, Aug. 28, 1912.
For as long as Parich can remember, she has always gotten her hair done every week. Whether she was traveling or in her hometown, she always found a beauty salon. Now, her granddaughter, Alyssa, routinely does her hair.
Stueve has always been a nurturer. When family members had children, she would help take care of them. She enjoyed it. She herself is the mother of seven children.
Both women say they’ve seen a lot in their long lives, but at their age it is a little hard to remember what might have stood out the most during those 100 years. They are just happy to be here.
The ladies are residents of Arlington Place, an assisted-living residence in St. Joseph. At 100 years old, the women are active and eager for conversation.
As the halls of Arlington Place buzz with traffic after dinner is served, Parich and Stueve walk back to their rooms. While peeking into Stueve’s room, one might find her sitting quietly reading the newspaper in her rocking chair. The Minnesota native enjoys reading and embroidery work. She grew up on a farm in Richmond and is the oldest girl in a family of 12. She and her late husband had seven children. She is also a grandmother.
So, how does she feel at 100?
“I feel OK,” Stueve said with a smile. “It’s something, you know; you get old and your children get old.”
She’s just excited to have made it to 100.
Just around the corner is Parich’s room. The veteran bridge-player from Hibbing likes to read and loves music. Her CD collection includes The Everly Brothers, Patsy Cline, Kenny Rogers and Charley Pride. Ask her how she feels about being 100, she will tell you she’s feeling fine but each day holds uncertainty.
“As long as I feel good, I think it’s wonderful,” Parich said of reaching 100. “I’m feeling fine so far, but you never know.”
Parich comes from a family of 10. There were four boys and six girls. She is the oldest of the girls. She has a younger sister, Jenny, who is in her 90s, she said.
She and her husband, John, had two daughters – Helene and Patricia. Parich is also a grandmother. Looking ahead, Parich says she is content with the life she has had.
“From now on, I don’t care,” Parich said. “I’m ready to go. I wouldn’t mind if I went in my sleep.”
Pat Flicker, director of Arlington Place, is always happy to celebrate her residents. Living 100 years is “a big dang deal,” in her opinion. She couldn’t say enough about the two birthday girls who like to think they’re 100 years young.
“Helen is a gentle spirit,” Flicker said. “She has the most amazing twinkle in her eye at 100. It just cracks me up.”
The staff at Arlington Place calls Stueve “Coffee Clara” as she really likes her coffee.
“(Clara) is so dang sweet,” she said. “She’s very dedicated to her family.”
Flicker describes Stueve as a natural caretaker and nurturer. The 100-year-old often checks on her neighbor and brings her to lunch when she’s up to it. She’s just thoughtful like that.