Date: October 05 2022

Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936, (406) 461-3757,
                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391, (406) 461-8367,

Governor Gianforte, DPHHS Honors Montana Centenarians

Helen Meyer of Anaconda remembers long rides to town in a horse and buggy

BUTTE – Today, Montana Centenarians were honored in Butte at the Copper King Hotel and Convention Center during a special luncheon.  

Governor Greg Gianforte was on hand to welcome and celebrate with the Centenarians in attendance.

“Montana Centenarians are absolute treasures,” Governor Gianforte said. “They have lived life to the fullest and bring so many experiences with them. It was an honor to celebrate with them today in Butte and learn about their amazing lives.”

The luncheon was part of the 53rd annual Governor’s Conference on Aging with the theme ‘Rock Your Age: Communities of Strength.’

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) recently asked these individuals their secret to longevity, the most amazing event in their life, a favorite quote and various other insights into their lives. All those who submit their information this year will receive a recognition proclamation from Governor Gianforte.

The Centenarians who responded to DPHHS include those who are or will turn age 100 by the end of 2022. The list includes:

  • (1) 106-year-old
  • (1) 104-year-old
  • (1) 103-year-old
  • (2) 102-year-olds
  • (4) 101-year-olds
  • (23) 100-year-olds

Here are some of the Centenarian responses:

Patricia Erickson, age 101, Kalispell. Erickson was born in Whitefish and she raised her five children in Montana. She loves to hike and walk in the mountains. She says her secret to longevity is to have a great sense of humor, hard work and a great outlook on life. 

Sigfrid Ostby, age 103, Homestead. Ostby said her secret to longevity is staying busy. Some of her favorite quotes are: ‘You get what you expect.’ ‘You play the cards you’re dealt.’

Clifford Gangstad, age 100, Billings. Clifford was born on the family farm without a doctor. When he was born, his father came outside and told his two brothers and two sisters: ‘It’s a boy, and it’s a big one.’ His greatest accomplishment was that he loved his family farm so much he grew up to own it.

Helen Meyer, age 100, Anaconda. Meyer’s secret to longevity is never skip a meal, exercise and stay active. The most amazing event in her life was growing up on the farm. She said there was no running water to the house. She remembers long rides to town in the horse and buggy which were two to three hours one way. She is happy with her claim to fame of turning age 100. 

John Morgan, age 101, Missoula. Morgan explains his secret to longevity is good food, good work etiquette, getting outdoors to fish, hunt and trap, helping family, and being a non-smoker. His favorite quote is: ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!’

Mickael Tieg, age 106, Lebo. When Mickael was younger, the Lebo Post Office was operated out of the family home. He was the 8th of 11 children, and all were born on the family farm. When he was 100, he taught himself to play the violin.

The conference’s mission is to raise the public’s awareness of the state’s current senior population, as well as providing lifestyle choices. The conference includes numerous keynote sessions, focusing on the State Plan on Aging, the future of Senior & Long Term Care and action steps on elder abuse. Breakout sessions and panel discussions will focus on caregiver/respite programs, senior center programs, senior hunger and redefining retirement. 

Additional conference information can be found at: 2024 Governors Conference on Aging

Photo caption

Pictured below with Governor Gianforte and Montana's first lady, Susan Gianforte, is Audrey Anderwald of Opportunity, MT. Anderwald will turn 100 in December. 

 Audrey Alderwald, who turns 100 in December, has a light blue shirt and grey hair. She sits between Governor Gianforte and first lady Susan Gianforte while holding her certificate in a cherry wood frame.