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Beitelspacher is ready for 100th birthday celebration

Friday, October 19, 2007

(Photo)
Louise Beitelspacher will observe her 100th birthday on Saturday, Oct. 20. She participates in the Vintage Roses Red Hat Society gatherings at Plymouth Manor Care Center and keeps a busy schedule with family and friends.
A Red Hat Society member gets to wear a red hat at the age of 50. Louise Beitelspacher is donning that hat as she turns 100 years old on Oct. 20, 2007.

The spry centenarian, who now makes her home at Plymouth Manor Care Center in Le Mars, doesn’t miss a thing, whether its a family celebration, Sunday morning church or a game of cards.

“It takes a lot of lovin’ to get to be 100,” she told the group at the Red Hat gathering Monday afternoon. “Hard work and a lot of loving.”

Beitelspacher was presented with a Red Hat charm bracelet, which she promptly put on her wrist. Then it was time for strawberry shortcake and tea, her requested menu for the afternoon.

Her family will host an open house in her honor on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, rural Le Mars. She requests no gifts, please.

Beitelspacher was born Oct. 20, 1907, in Grant Township, where her parents, Herman and Anna (Brabander) Renken, raised a family of three daughters and six sons. Growing up on a farm meant every child had chores to do, and Louise learned a lot.

In her 100 years, Beitelspacher has seen a lot of changes. She recalls riding their horse, Bess, to get the cows from the pasture each day which was about a mile from the farmplace. Field work was a lot different too. “We picked corn by hand and used a horse and wagon in the field,” she said.

She married Henry Beitelspacher on Aug. 11, 1931, and shortly after their marriage the couple bought a farm in section 11 of Grant Township, where they lived until retirement.

A true farmer’s wife, Louise kept busy raising the family and tending to a large garden.

“Oh, it was a big garden,” she said. “We milked a lot of cows, too, all by hand.”

Spring brought baby chicks to the farm, enough to fill the two brooder houses. “In the fall we kept the hens and sold the roosters,” she said. She recalls selling hatching eggs to Masters Breeders, too.

“We gathered eggs four and five times a day then,” she said.

That large flock also provided the family with plenty of fried chicken and roasted chicken.

“We girls got to pick strawberries in Mom’s big strawberry patch,” said daughter Joan Renken. The garden provided plenty of produce to eat fresh in the summertime and preserve for the winter months, too.

She loved to cook and bake. One of Joan’s favorites memories is the scent of bread, fresh from the oven, that greeted anyone coming into the house.

Beitelspacher presided over many big Sunday dinners when the family came to visit.

She was involved as a 4-H leader for “quite a few years,” as her children participated in that organization.

Through the years, her church has been an important part of Beitelspacher’s life, with regular attendance at Sunday worship and Sunday school. She was active in the Ladies Aide, and served as its president.

“We always had a lot of women and nice lunches,” she said. “We had egg coffee, too, that was so nice and clear.” She also was a leader for the Junior Lutherans.

She still attends church services each Sunday, thanks to her children.

Louise and Henry retired to their new house in Brunsville in 1975. Her love of gardening continued as she became a member of the Four Seasons Garden Club there.

Her quilting hobby has allowed each grandchild to have a quilted Christmas stocking and every great-grandchild a baby quilt.

And while she may be 100, don’t count on her slowing down anytime soon. She still enjoys watching baseball games, the news and family shows on television and plays bingo at the care center. If there’s a card game going, Beitelspacher will most likely be at the table. She’s always ready for a few hands of pinochle.

“Oh yeah, I like to play pinochle,” she said with a grin.

The mother of eight has 24 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. Her children are: Don and Betty Beitelspacher of Brunsville, Laura Mae and Gerald Nathlich of Woodward, Delores and Jim Buryanek of Westfield, Joan and Erv Renken of Brunsville, Arlene and Larry Sorensen of Storm Lake, Janice and Larry Pritchett of Westfield, Ed and Doris Beitelspacher of Le Mars and Wayne and Julie Beitelspacher of Le Mars.

The Red Hat Society gathering is just one of several ways Beitelspacher will celebrate her 100th birthday. On Saturday, she’ll have a family celebration with her sister, brother and in-laws, and then will start Sunday morning with a coffee hour before the Sunday morning worship service. A family dinner will precede the open house on Sunday afternoon.

“I never thought that I would be 100,” she said. How did she get there? “Hard work and love,” she replied.



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