One of the benefits in the job of a reporter is you get to meet great citizens and people who make Eudora a part of their life. Occasionally, the opportunity arises to meet someone who is extra special. Henrietta Olson is another one of those extra special people. Henrietta turned 106 years young on Friday. To celebrate the milestone, the staff of Medicalodges threw Henrietta a huge birthday party.
Along with the residents of the facility, friends and family also gathered to celebrate this amazing event. Five generations from Henrietta down to two great great grandsons were on hand to celebrate.
Henrietta attributes her longevity to working hard in her younger days and exercising regularly. “My mother was a hard worker” she said. “We shoveled horse manure, carried water and worked hard at washing the clothes.”
Henrietta has been active all her life. Her parents operated a feed store during her formative years and she was an avid horse rider. Later in life, Henrietta sold real estate working in that career well into her 70’s before retiring.
To put into perspective how long Henrietta has been with us, Henrietta was born in 1904 in Kansas City, MO and, as a child, moved to Kansas City, KS in a covered wagon.
Henrietta still keeps going today. “You’ve got to keep active. You got to keep kicking every day.” she said. “And I still read the paper without wearing glasses.”
Sue Coleman, Activities Director for Medical Lodges, is amazed how spry she still is. “She comes to every resident meeting, she helps decorate and she’s constantly up and down the halls checking on everyone. She keeps track of all the residents and the staff. She worries more about others than even herself.”
Helen Smith, Olson’s 81 year old daughter, attributes Henrietta making it 106 by the fact that she just loves living. “She’s got great bloodlines and been blessed with good health and good genes.”
Olson and Mayor Scott Hopson
In honor of her 106th birthday, Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson was on hand to present Olson with a mayoral proclamation recognizing her as a valued member of the community. “She’s amazing. I hope that I’m that strong and agile when I’m 80.” Hopson stated.
Olson was also honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Henrietta is the second oldest active member of the DAR in the nation.
Smith later told us, “She’s going to be pretty hard to be around, now that she’s got all this attention from the media.”