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Hastings resident Viola Filkins celebrates 100th birthday

Viola Filkins remembers mail being delivered by horse and buggy, battery-operated radio, kerosene lanterns, family times, simple picnics and the first cars—“ we always carried an air pump with us for the tires.” It was a time of hard work, strong family and faith values. All that said, her life has been a good one.

On Monday, Dec. 30, Viola celebrated her 100th birthday with her friends at Oak Ridge Assisted Living. The kitchen there even prepared 100 birthday cupcakes for the day. Her family held its own party for her the previous day.

She and her husband Fred were married for 74 years before he died.

Her secret to a long life and long marriage?

“We had a certain routine and we always followed it,” she said. “We worked hard, always were in bed usually by 9 p.m. We followed that routine and we were happy.”

Viola was born in Prescott, Wis., on Dec. 30, 1913. She grew up on the family farm and helped with the animals and the crops. She and her brothers and sister attended a one-room country school, often traveling there by horse.

Her formal school ended at eighth grade as she was needed at home to help with the household.

She met her husband Fred at a dance in Prescott.

“Do you remember the Pavilion?” she asked. “They had dances there. I enjoyed dancing and I met him there.”

Farming, too, was Fred’s life at his family’s farm. After the couple’s wedding in 1936, they moved there.

“We always worked together,” recalled Viola. “We got along well.”

She quickly learned how to handle a horse and a hay baler in the field. She enjoyed all kinds of cooking and baking, gardening, canning, freezing homemade pies and the sauerkraut making that was, and is, a Filkins’ family event.

Viola and Fred raised two sons, David and Donald. There are now eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren. They stayed on the family farm for 72 years until Fred’s health needed nursing home care. They moved into Prescott. She moved to Hastings and into Oak Ridge Assisted Living several years ago.

She enjoys living in Hastings and being close to all her family. She participates in the activities at Oak Ridge, especially enjoying the music activities. She reads, watches TV (“Wheel of Fortune” is a favorite) follows the Minnesota Twins and visits with family and friends.