DPHHS Home       About Us       Contact Us       News & Events       Programs & Services       Health Data & Statistics

A - Z Index

NEWS Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.

May 06, 2013


Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

Montana Centenarians to be honored in Glasgow, Great Falls

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will honor Montana Centenarians Tuesday, May 7 in Glasgow and Thursday, May 9 in Great Falls at noon luncheons.

Both luncheons are part of the annual Governor’s Conference on Aging which is split into two locations this year, first in Glasgow on May 7-8 and then in Great Falls May 9-10. Guest speakers for the luncheons will be Governor Steve Bullock in Glasgow and Lt. Gov. John Walsh in Great Falls.

“Montana Centenarians are simply the best,” DPHHS Director Richard Opper said. “We can all learn so much by taking the time to listen to their stories of triumph and perseverance. I especially appreciate those who told us their secret to longevity was ‘don’t smoke and don’t drink.’ What a great public health message.”

DPHHS recently asked Montana Centenarians their secret to longevity, the most amazing event in their life and a favorite quote.

Bernice Clara Mybakken Hermann, age 100 of Glasgow said the secret to longevity “is I guess the good Lord wanted me to live this long. It isn’t anything I have done.”

Bertha Renfro, age 101 of Columbia Falls, said her secret to longevity was that “she never smoked and never drank. And she likes rock n' roll and Elvis Presley.”

Leonette Rudel Lodmell Jaumotte, age 100 of Choteau said her secret to longevity is the “simple life, her faith, her strength of character and her determination. She said the most amazing event she witnessed in her life was the landing on, and man walking on the moon and her favorite quote is ‘et not your heart be troubled.’”

Helen Self, age 103 of Missoula, said her secret to longevity is that “she always tells herself no matter how she is feeling, Helen, get out of that darn bed!”

Evelyn Sanders, age 101 years old of Conrad, said the secret to her longevity is “good clean living and taking good care of herself.” She also said there is also longevity in her family. Her father lived to be 106; her brother is 102; and her sister lived to be almost 100. Family has always meant a lot to Evelyn and she is proud of that fact that she was married for over 70 years.

Veronica Gustin, age 105 of Kalispell, was raised in Geraldine where the boys out-numbered the girls. She said she had to “learn how to play games better than the boys so she could play.” She was an avid golfer with more than 40 trophies to prove it along with being inducted into the Montana State Women’s Golf Association Hall of Fame in 1992. 

Ernie Stomsvik, age 103 of Cut Bank, said the secret to longevity is “I forget about yesterday and don’t worry about tomorrow.” His most amazing event was shooting an 80 on his 80th birthday at the Cut Bank Golf Course. Cold weather is in his blood and he loves lutefisk and lefsa due to his Norwegian background. He loves flowers and loves to grow them, especially red roses which are his favorite.

A total of 16 Centenarians are planning to attend the Glasgow and Great Falls luncheons and over 70 Montana Centenarians who responded to a DPHHS questionnaire will receive a certificate from Governor Bullock.

The annual Conference on Aging is planned with the help of local citizens and focuses on issues of local interest related to Montana seniors and their families. This year’s conferences will cover a variety of topics including Alzheimer’s, estate planning, healthy aging, fraud and abuse, drug interaction, home safety, identity theft, grandparents raising grandchildren, older drivers, and affordable , safe senior living.

According to DPHHS officials, Montana has one of the fastest growing 65 and older populations in the nation. This increased aging trend is expected to continue for the next 18 years, with 35 baby boomers turning 65 every day until 2030. This equals 12,775 people per year and represents a community larger than all but seven of the largest cities in the state. Within the 65 and older age group, the fastest growing segment is the 100 and older age group, our Centenarians.

Page last updated: April 15, 2013