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Spring Valley resident celebrates her 97th Year


Fri, Jul 12th, 2013
Posted in Spring Valley Features

Maggie Gragert

By Barb Jeffers

Her words of wisdom are few - “keep active and keep moving” says Maggie Gragert, a resident of the Evergreens at Spring Valley Senior Living in Spring Valley, Minn.

Born on June 28, 1916, Maggie just turned 97 and continues to do whatever she can to stay active and healthy. While growing up on a farm in Canada, Maggie spent a lot of time outside working with her father. Maggie stated, “If he was outside working, I was outside working,” whether it was to repair machinery or any kind of work on the farm. She said, “I have always liked to be outside more than inside,” and stated that she didn’t even know how to cook until she got older because she had spent all of her time outside.

While growing up in Canada with three brothers and five sisters, Maggie was involved in many activities and sports including curling. She was on the ladies curling team and also a school curling team which she enjoyed. Maggie also liked to go ice skating, spent time playing softball, and pursued any other activity she wanted to saying “I always wanted to try new things” which has carried throughout her life and continues today.

After moving from Canada to a farm near Spring Valley, Maggie continued working on the farm and also worked at Olson’s Dry Cleaning business for 22 years doing alterations and other types of jobs. She also worked at Niesner’s five and dime store at the Miracle Mile in Rochester, Minn. for a time.

One thing Maggie had never learned was to roller skate. After she had her children, George and Eileen, Maggie was taking them to learn to roller skate so she figured she would learn too, since she was already there with her kids.

She had never learned how to drive a car and after the loss of her husband, Maggie decided she needed to learn how to drive a car and get her drivers license. She stated, “I wasn’t going to call the neighbors every time she needed something in town.” So, she learned how to drive in the field, noting it was a manual transmission so she also had to learn to shift. Maggie got her permit and received her drivers license when she was 41 years old. She still drives her car but no longer drives out of town.

Maggie also spent a lot of time baking for many years saying she made cookies, cakes, and pies as well as other goodies. Other activities Maggie has enjoyed are knitting and crocheting and has made many pieces over the years including afghans and other items for her children and grandchildren.

Maggie Gragert bowled on a bowling league for almost 50 years. When asked if she was a good bowler, Maggie stated, “I was not a great bowler, but I was a consistent bowler,” saying she never scored really high or very low but always had a fairly good score. When she retired from bowling, the bowling league gave her a gift certificate for the Root River Country Club in Spring Valley, which she used to celebrate her birthday with her son and a friend. Maggie bowled again recently with the senior citizens and had a good time.

Walking was another favorite pastime for Maggie as she used to walk three miles every morning and still continues to walk as much as she can. Exercising is on her schedule three times a week, which helps Maggie to stay active along with all of her other hobbies.

Gardening has been a passion of Maggie’s as well, which she continues by taking care of the plants at the Estates and the Evergreens at Spring Valley Senior Living. She waters, transplants, and move plants indoors and outdoors when seasons change. Maggie said, “When I had my first garden, I couldn’t even keep a geranium alive and now I keep African violets alive.” And she takes care of many other types of plants and flowers too.

De Vreeman, Housing Manager at Spring Valley Senior Living, says that Maggie is a real “go-getter” and recently did yoga when they had it available, which shows Maggie is still trying new activities. De says that she and many other people who know Maggie say they “want to be like her when we grow up” because of her zest for life.

First moving to the Estates in 2004, Maggie was the second person to move into the Evergreens building when it was constructed. She stated that she picked out the room before it was finished and enjoys living there. “It’s a wonderful place to live,” Maggie said, “especially for someone who is alone, or even a couple because the services are so good.”

Maggie has not slowed down since moving to the Evergreens getting involved in making crafts, which she displays throughout her living space and also enjoys reading very much.

Things have changed drastically since the days when Maggie was a little girl. She said, “People didn’t have what they have now.” Times were quite different back then. Maggie said, “I wasn’t brought up to waste things.” She cherishes what she has.

Maggie also cherishes her family, which includes her two children, four grandchildren, three step grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and four step great grandchildren. Her home has many wonderful photos of her family and Maggie will take the time to explain who is in each photo with a bright smile on her face.

As for “secrets” for living a long and healthy life Maggie has none, saying that staying active isn’t a secret, “It’s just the way I live my life,” she stated. Maggie Gragert is an example of how everyone should live their life when they grow up.

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