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Montana Centenarians to be honored in Helena


May 11, 2015

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391


Montana Centenarians to be honored in Helena

One Centenarian recalls traveling by horseback to attend high school


The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will honor Montana Centenarians Tuesday, May 12 in Helena at the Red Lion Colonial Hotel during a noon luncheon.

The luncheon is part of the 47th annual Governor’s Conference on Aging. Governor Steve Bullock will serve as the event’s keynote speaker. A total of 21 Montana Centenarians from all over Montana plan to attend the luncheon. These are Montanans who will turn age 100 or older as of December 31, 2015.           

“Our Centenarians are truly Montana treasures,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “I look forward every year to honoring them and learning more about their lives. It is fascinating to hear their stories, and learn how it is they have been able to withstand the test of time.”

DPHHS recently asked Montanans to submit the names of Centenarians, and that list is at 127 names and growing. The DPHHS Centenarian list of those over age 101 is as follows:

  • 2 are age 106
  • 3 are age 105
  • 10 are age 104
  • 13 are age 103
  • 16 are age 102, and
  • 27 are age 101.

The two individuals age 106 live in Helena and Billings.

In addition, DPHHS recently asked Montana Centenarians their secret to longevity, the most amazing event in their life, a favorite quote and various other insights into their lives.

Here are a few of the responses of those planning to attend the luncheon:

Charles ‘Chuck’ Bennetts, age 101, Fairfield. Bennetts said he rode his horse to high school and in his senior year rode it to take an exam in minus-50 degree temperatures.

Keo Burcham, age 103, Missoula. She enjoys her frequent contact with her grandchildren and great grandchildren using FaceTime and Skype which allow her to see “those faces and hear their voices”. Her favorite quote is “all things in moderation.”

Florence ‘Chloe’ Grimm, age 99, Anaconda. Chloe states that the most amazing event in her life was when she was elected into the Montana’s Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame in 1980 at 64 years of age. Chloe bowled for 38 years and golfed for 57 before stopping at age 97.

Charlotte Niklas, age 103, Helena. Niklas’ favorite quote is: ‘They say golf is like life, but don’t believe them. Golf is more complicated than that,’ attributed to Gardner Dickinson.

Additional Centenarians planning to attend include: Ruth Arnold, age 103, Three Forks; Inga Morris-Connolly, age 101, Great Falls; Henry Dahl, age 101, Helena; Evelyn Dunlap, age 101, Missoula; Alberta Haltom, age 102, Helena; John Hocevar, age 100, Great Falls; Mary Lincoln, age 103, Chester; Arvah Morton, age 103, Helena; Alphonse Al Muggli, age 101, Clyde Park; Lucille Nellis, age 100, Dillon; Christine Petersen, age 99, Butte; Helen Superneau, age 100, Missoula; Edith Maxim McCarthy Spencer, age 100, Bozeman; Ernie Stomsvik, age 105, Cut Bank; Ann Van Sickle, age 102, Helena; Frederick ‘Fritz’ Weed, age 99, Helena; and Edith ‘Suzanne’ Yerx, age 100, Bozeman.

The annual Conference on Aging is planned with the help of local citizens and focuses on issues of local interest related to Montana seniors and their families. This year’s conferences will cover a variety of topics including Alzheimer’s, estate planning, healthy aging, fraud and abuse, drug interaction, home safety, identity theft, grandparents raising grandchildren, older drivers, and affordable, safe senior living.

According to DPHHS officials, Montana has one of the fastest growing 65 and older populations in the nation. In Montana, 1,065 people turn 65 every month or 12,775 people per year. And, this trend will continue for the next 16 years.

Additional conference information can be found at /SLTC/aging/GovernorsConferenceonAging