Sidney Woman Prepares To Celebrate 100 Years

Sidney native Iona Hansen can tease that she isn't the oldest person among her friends. Hansen is celebrating her 100th birthday on Thursday, May 9, but her closest friend is Ruth Iversen, who is 103 years young.

"She's 103. I call her amazing," Hansen said of Iversen. "She's a very good friend. I've known her since 1946."

Reaching the age of 100 is pretty amazing, too. A party is planned at the Lodge on Thursday from 2-4 p.m. to celebrate Hansen's birthday and will even include music from the Boehlers and Vicky Vaira.

She said her motto is, "do what you can do as long as you can do it."

Hansen is in relatively good health for her age. She does rely on a walker and her eye sight is limited.

"I guess old age is creeping up on me, too," she laughed. "I have aches and pains. People say I have a good memory, but I don't think it's as good as it was either."

She has lived in Sidney for her entire life after being born. After graduating from high school in 1942, she worked in the bookkeeping department at Richland Bank. Her experience also includes working part-time in the office of Yellowstone Merc. She worked in the superintendent of schools' office in 1944-1946.

When her then boyfriend, Gunnar Hansen, returned from serving during World War II, they were married on July 26, 1946. They were reunited in marriage for 44 years until Gunnar passed away from cancer. Their daughters are Linda DuFresne, Portland, OR., and MaryLee Miller, Missoula.

Iona has two granddaughters and three great-granddaughters.

She has been a long-time member of Pella Lutheran Church.

"I've been baptized, confirmed and married there. And God willing, I will be buried there," she said.

The Hansen's family farmed sugar beets and grains until they retired and moved to Sidney. Iona lived at that house until health challenges led her to the Lodge.

"I loved that place," Iona said of her former home in Sidney. "But I can tell I can't do what I used to be able to do."

She has lived at the Lodge since January 2023. "It's a very nice place. They are very helpful and kind. They take very good care of you."

She spends her days looking through old papers with a "reading machine" and welcoming friends for visits.

"It seems like time goes fast," Hansen said of her daily routine.

She doesn't have any tips of living to 100 years. "I guess not. I never dreamt I would live to be this age," Hansen said.


Reader Comments(0)