To the sights and sounds of German polka music, friends, family and fellow residents, Anoka resident Viola Ila Schweikert celebrated her 103rd birthday July 25 at Walker Plaza.
“I never dreamed I would reach this age,” she said.
Anoka City Council member Mark Freeburg read a proclamation from Anoka Mayor Phil Rice declaring that July 25, 2012 was Viola Schweikert Day in Anoka. Residents and staff enjoyed cake and beverages while listening to the accordion playing of Ron Kalman from Excelsior. Schweikert’s youngest son Tim shared several words about Viola and her life.
Viola married George Schweikert of Glencoe in 1929. After George finished seminary, he was assigned to pastor Immanuel Lutheran Church in Cass Lake.
“Cass Lake… was in the middle of an Indian reservation which was not incidentally in the middle of the Depression, that totally characterized how my mother viewed everything,” Tim said.
Tim said he grew up constantly saving and reusing household items like plastic bags and rags under his mother’s direction. To relieve the stress associated with the duties of a pastor’s wife and mother, Viola enjoyed art and music and played organ at church.
Viola painted plates by hand for many years and was known to be painting by the light of a kerosene lantern during frequent power outages.
“When you’re born in 1909, it’s no doubt that you represent more than just a little bit of history,” he said.
After living in Cass Lake the family later moved moved to Okabena and East Grand Forks, then to Rochester, N.Y.
Viola worked in administration at Monroe Community College in New York for 30 years. George passed away in 1965.
Viola is a mother of four, a grandmother of eight and a great grandmother.
“She’s happy with whatever God delivers to her and that contentment has given her 103 years and more,” he said.
Viola has lived at Walker Plaza for the past seven years after moving there from Glencoe.
Maria Schweikert, Tim’s wife, said Viola is still somewhat active and enjoys bingo, reading and watching TV.
When asked what advice she would give to those following behind, Viola responded “Always consider the other person.”
Bethany Kemming is at email@example.com