Two ladies at Vonderlieth:
Helen Henrichsmeyer and Doris Eckert reach 100 ~ Same day + Same year = Amazing

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[January 26, 2018] 


Vonderlieth Living Center in Mount Pulaski celebrated a special occasion on Thursday afternoon as two residents turned 100 years old on the same day. According to staff at the nursing home this was the first time in the history of Vonderlieth Living Center that two people shared the same 100th birthday. A party was held to honor both Helen Henrichsmeyer and Doris Eckert as friends, family, residents and staff gathered to celebrate.

VLC Activity Director, Pam McCarty, noted that both women are very sharp and each gets around very well with the use of a walker.

Helen Henrichsmeyer standing in foreground

Helen Henrichsmeyer

“Helen is very active in the activity department,” said McCarty. “She loves to fold towels everyday, two times a day, as part of the service activity and she prides herself in being the only resident to stand at the table while folding towels.” Helen also keeps herself busy reading. She enjoys reading the newspaper and her mail, especially the church bulletin, according to McCarty. “She also plays games. She is a very active woman for the age of 100,” said McCarty.

While folding towels on Wednesday afternoon at Vonderlieth Living Center, Helen remarked, “I’m always doing 100 other things and forget about this. I’ve got too many irons in the fire.”

Helen was born on January 25, 1918 near Mount Pulaski, the daughter of William Carl and Alice Cary Goodrich Musser. Helen attended Birks and Copeland rural schools and Mount Pulaski High School. After she married Oscar Henrichsmeyer,

Helen said they farmed in rural Mount Pulaski, near Copeland and Birks schools. Helen and Oscar had two children, Doris Irene and Larry Lee. Helen lived on a farm but said she never did drive a tractor. “I remember the horse and buggy but I didn’t have much to do with them,” she said.

Helen prefers to shy away from interviews and publicity, but turning 100 is such a special milestone, that it even drew attention from a local television crew forcing Helen and Doris into the spotlight.

Meanwhile, Doris is a talker, enjoys conversation and doesn’t seem to mind the spotlight.

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Doris Eckert with daughters Nancy Cochran (left) and Rita Scanavimo.

Doris Eckert

McCarty also noted that Doris is very sharp and stays busy, thanks to her family. “Doris has her family in her room most days and they play cards and that’s how she stays active,” said McCarty.

Doris was born on January 25, 1918 in New Holland, the daughter of Ruth and Henry Zimmerman. Doris attended schools in New Holland and graduated from New Holland High School in 1935.

Doris also attended Lincoln College, where she met her future husband, Stan Eckert. Doris could not recall what Stan was studying at Lincoln College at the time but after they were married he joined the family business, she said. “His father owned a meat shop and a grocery store in Lincoln,” said Doris. Stan ran Eckert’s Market with his brother, Jim, while Doris was a homemaker. Their three children, Rita, Nancy and Bob, all followed their mother’s early path in life and became teachers.

Doris was well aware it was her birthday as her family had hosted a party earlier in the week at her church. “Oh yes, I’m 100 years old,” said Doris. How does it feel? “I feel just like I always did,” she said. “I was born in 1918.”

When asked if she had any memories from her childhood, she answered, “Oh yeah, lots of them. We’d run over to the neighbors because they had a radio. We wanted to hear it and we had to put the earphones on and all us kids would fight for the earphones. That was in New Holland. I was born there,” said Doris.

Doris mentioned that her family didn’t have a car at first “but then finally Dad got a Chevrolet,” she said laughing. When asked how that first car ride was, she answered with a big grin, “Oh, it was just wonderful.”

Doris is also a very family-oriented person and when asked about her family she didn’t hesitate to say, “I love ‘em. I love ‘em dearly. I think they are great. Rita broke her foot.”

Yes, as a matter of fact, her daughter, Rita, did break her foot. As Rita was moving food and decorations into the church basement for a party for her mom, she fell and broke her foot. Doris is in the know about everything.

Horbert and Liz Jumg, friends of Doris are from southwest Germany near Karlsruhe.

Flowers, balloons and cards already decorated her room in the midst of many stuffed animals ahead of Thursday’s celebration. A Chicago Cubs beanie baby sat among the pile and when asked if she was a Cub fan, Doris practically yelled, “YES!” Doris said Stan was a Cub fan and “so was my dad. Oh my, Dad was a Chicago Cubs fan!” When asked about seeing the Cubs win a World Series in her lifetime, she flashed another smile and said, “It was wonderful.”

By all accounts from faculty and staff on Thursday seeing these two lovely ladies turn 100 years old was also wonderful. There was a buzz about the nursing home as excitement filled the building. Balloons were even released into the sky in honor of Helen and Doris.

Happy Birthday, ladies!

[Teena Lowery]

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