Current Oldest Living South Dakotan Named 2016 Centenarian
A 107-year-old South Dakotan woman is receiving an award recognizing life. The Century Club program allows families to nominate those who live past their 100th birthday, exuding wisdom and positive contributions to the state.
Bertha Mohr is this year’s Centenarian of the Year. At 107 years old, she is the current oldest member of the South Dakota Health Care Association’s Century Club. Mohr lives in Eureka and enjoys a long life full of family and German cuisine.
LuAnn Severson is the Century Club’s coordinator. She says Bertha is unique from past award recipients since most are women who never married or had children. She says most people cite healthy living and strong faith as key factors of longevity.
“It’s really quite unique that South Dakota has so many centenarians, and I want to say that from reading the applications that come in the office, it comes from having that hardiness of getting through some tough winters and just having this as public awareness of positive aging is our main purpose," says Severson.
Severson says the SDHCA began the Century Club in 1997 and has since delivered over 1,500 plaques recognizing club members’ longevity. She says the club has been a unique aspect to South Dakota, even receiving attention across the country.
“The Century Club has had national recognition through Harvard University. We’ve also gained some national awards for the public awareness of bringing the positive aging aspect, and then we’ve also had some fun parts of it, too, being contacted by some of the national talk shows," says Severson.
Severson says South Dakota has inspired other states to form similar programs celebrating century-old residents. She hopes to see more people join the club to continue acknowledging the state’s wisest citizens.