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Bredemeier to turn 103

Managing editor

Longtime Marion resident Clara Bredemeier’s secret to a long life is simple — “Good friends, lovely relatives,” she said.

Preparing to celebrate her 103rd birthday Saturday, the modest, unassuming great-grandmother doesn’t know why she’s lived for more than 100 years but takes life one day at a time.

Until a few months ago, Bredemeier was active in her home on South Roosevelt Street. A firm believer in exercising, her stationary exercise bike was located in the central part of her home so she could hop on it during the day to exercise. Since she suffered a broken hip, she has been living at Parkside Homes in Hillsboro but she still calls Marion her home.

Born on a farm south of Lincolnville to William and Susan Jane Hammer, she was one of eight children — seven girls and one boy. She attended all 12 grades at Lincolnville.

She married Herbert Bredemeier on June 12, 1929. They lived their early married life in rural Marion County. They had two children — Richard and Laura. Dick and wife Evelyn live in Marion and Laura lives in Petaluma, Calif.

“Herb was a carpenter,” Bredemeier said. He built the house the couple shared on South Roosevelt Street in 1954.

After high school, Bredemeier taught school for two years. After getting married, she was a clerk in a grocery store and a bakery.

She and Herb shared 74 years of marriage before he died in 2003.

Until her recent health issue, Bredemeier was living independently in her home in Marion. Her failing eyesight limits some activities but she finds pleasure in listening to audio books and visiting with family and friends.

Bredemeier continues to exercise as much as she can and hopes to be able to walk on her own at some point.

Bredemeier doesn’t have plans for her big day.

“I hope nothing big is planned. I just want to spend time with my family,” she said.

Last modified Oct. 21, 2010

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