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Cleo "Deedie" Parker is surrounded by her four surviving children at her 100th birthday Saturday at Augustana Care Center. Seated from left to right, are Vern Parker, Deedie and Don Parker. Standing are Toni Haviland, left, and Paulette Pilhoffer.

Cleo Parker celebrates her 100th birthday

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Augustana resident marks a milestone with a party

Just about all of the residents and many of her friends were there Saturday afternoon to celebrate Cleo (Deedie) Parker's 100th birthday at Augustana Care Center.

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Those attending included her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. They filled the second floor dining room.

Parker smiled through the photograph-taking. Everyone else appeared to be smiling as well.

Parker was born July 17, 1909, in Lawton, Ky., to William and Elvira Burton. Lawton is in the hills of Kentucky on the east side of the state. Farming was the main business, and tobacco was the main crop.

Parker has outlived all of her siblings - Willard, Mari, Everett, Bess, Ethel, Clara and Annabelle.

To what does she attribute her long life?

"Healthy living," she says. "No smoking or drinking."

The family raised animals, and enough vegetables and fruit in their garden to keep them in food, fresh food. She believes that was another factor in her long life.

She and her sisters and brother attended a nearby one-room school house through the elementary grades. High school was not an option.

She met her future husband, Shade, when she was a child.

"We kind of grew up together," she said. They married March 13, 1929.

Shade worked in the steel mines, and when that industry declined, the couple moved to Wisconsin. Shade's brother lived there.

"The lumber business was thriving," she said. "Eventfully, he also ran a mink farm - in the 1940s and '50s."

Deedie Parker was a stay-at-home wife and mother while raising five children, Dolores Jacks (now deceased), Wilma (Toni) Haviland of Hastings, Vern Parker of Utah, Don Parker of Wisconsin, and Paulette Pilhoffer of California.

Gardening and canning, "putting by," continued to be a large part of her daily routine.

Her daughter, Paulette, describes her mother as an excellent cook, specializing in fried chicken, cornbread, baked beans and raspberry pie.

"We (the grandchildren) would pick them (the berries), and then if we had done what we were supposed to do, she baked the pie," Julie Malm said.

Cleo and Shade retired to Fort Pierce, Fla., in 1977, and he died in 1983. She continued to live in Fort Pierce until 2002, when she moved to Hastings to be closer to her daughter. She currently lives at Augustana Care Center and enjoys living in Hastings.

She has 14 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren all around the United States, Sweden and Germany. There are six great-great-grandchildren.

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