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Happy 100th Birthday to Bernice Strader

Posted: August 21, 2013 11:31 a.m.
Updated: August 21, 2013 11:29 a.m.

Special to the C-I


Some folks like to tell stories about walking to work in ankle deep snow wearing boots and how that experience made them tougher…..but some folks really did it.

Bernice Strader is one who did. She says "it kept me going." This week she will celebrate her 100th birthday and now uses a walker, but she quickly adds that it "doesn’t get me down -- I still get out and go."

Bernice has a quick smile and says she has always enjoyed taking time to laugh, talk and cut up. She described those times as "part of living, and people need to do more of that."

One thing we need to let go of is bitterness, and Bernice says "just take it as it comes." Her main motto is to "be friendly and like people."

Bernice Strader was born into a family of 16 children in Harrisburg, Ill. She brought up three children on her own because her husband was sick for many years. She has seven grandchildren.

"I’ve had a good life, although I didn’t always have the best of things," she said. Bernice worked in the laundry at St. John’s Hospital, and went back to school in her 70s. She worked several jobs and retired, but did not enjoy that time and went back to work for a while.

Bernice traveled through the western U.S. with her sibling and said the Grand Canyon was "gorgeous." She highly recommends that everyone go there. She also flew to Italy when she was 79 and met some new friends along the way.

Bernice is currently staying with her daughter and son-in-law, Peggy and Jim, who have helped with her care for about seven years. They are close and enjoy spending time at Harvest Baptist Church. Bernice says she is "thankful I’m still around, and the Lord has been good to me."

When asked about her upcoming birthday, she grins and says emphatically, "I never doubted I would get there."

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