Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

March 4, 2013

Roberts will celebrate 105th birthday on Wednesday

Knoxville — Helen Roberts has lived quite a life, a life that began in the same year the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series. 

Roberts, a resident at Park Lane Village, will celebrate her 105th birthday on Wednesday, March 6, though she could easily pass for someone much, much younger. Her enthusiasm for learning, reading, the outdoors and politics of the day is stronger than that of some of those one-fifth her age. 

Helen (Ward) Roberts was born in Franklin Township March 6, 1908. Her father was a schoolteacher, and the individual she believes had the greatest impact on her life. She followed in his footsteps and taught in a country school, teaching children from age 4 through graduation. 

She grew up on a farm, a lifestyle she kept well into her later years. Her family had a farm near Lincoln Cemetery, then moved to Highland and Donnelly through her youth. The young lady graduated from Knoxville High School in 1926. She went on to school in Spearfish, S.D., during the summers of 1926-28.

Always a lover of nature, she enjoyed her time in Spearfish, as it offered much to enjoy in the outdoors. Even during the interview for this article, days before her 105th birthday, she consistently expressed her desire to get out and camp as soon, and as often, as she could. As she was growing up, she would work in the field, then head to a nearby stream to catch a couple of Bass. She would return to her house and fry them for her lunch. 

Following her graduation in Spearfish, she began teaching. She is proud of the box suppers and pie sales she helped organize to help raise money for the schools. Box suppers included preparation of a meal by a young lady. An auctioneer would present the boxes for bidding and the young men in the audience would "buy" the box that caught their eye. Buying the box gave the young man the opportunity to enjoy the nice meal for two with the lady who prepared it. 

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