(Sentinel photo by Beverly Van Buskirk)
Clara Scholten, a resident at Plymouth Manor Care Center in Le Mars since April 2001, celebrated her 104th birthday on Feb. 19, 2005. Due to Plymouth Manor being closed for colds and flu, Le Mars Mayor Virgil Van Beek wasn't able to meet Scholten and sign the proclamation until March 16.
Plymouth Manor administrator Marilyn Kennedy explained the proclamation is a way to honor those who are 100 years old and older.
"It's a neat thing to do," she said of the new tradition started this year at the facility. The care center administrator expects to honor two more residents, one in April and one in May.
The proclamation reads, "Celebrating 104 years of Life. This certificate is awarded to Clara Scholten. Plymouth Manor Care Center, Le Mars, Iowa" and is signed by Le Mars Mayor Virgil Van Beek and Plymouth Manor administrator Marilyn Kennedy.
"It's quite an honor to celebrate being 104 years old," Van Beek told Scholten as he congratulated her. "We're glad you are able to be a part of our community."
The mayor also asked her secret to living so long.
"Clean living, no drinking, no smoking," Scholten replied with a smile. Her family notes her father died at age 91, and a brother lived to age 98.
The former Clara Van Zandbergen was born Feb. 19, 1901, at Newkirk in Sioux County, the youngest of eight children. Her parents immigrated from Holland, and settled on a farm where Scholten grew up.
After her marriage to Gerrit Scholten on Jan. 22, 1925, she lived in Alton, where they raised their family. Gerrit died April 16, 1973.
Scholten taught herself the skill of tatting at the age of 12, learning from a book. Through the years she has done a lot of tatting and crocheting, according to family members. Her children and grandchildren have crocheted bedspreads created from her nimble fingers.
At the 2002 Plymouth County Fair, Scholten, then 101, won a grand champion ribbon at the Round Barn Creative Hobbies Show with a tatted doilie. She made the doilie with a sterling silver shuttle which she received when she was 17 years old. "I've used it ever since," she said. Scholten worked on the project when she was 100.
Her tatting projects also include snowflakes, angels and all sizes of doilies.
Scholten has four children, Cliff and Ann Scholten of West Des Moines and Tucson, Ariz., Rod and Colleen Scholten of Le Mars, Beverly and M.G. Waitt of Newberry Park, Calif., and Jerry and Audrey Scholten of Le Mars. She has 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
The Sioux County native keeps active in activities at Plymouth Manor.