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100 years and counting

Luella Knudsen always believed that she would live to be 100 years old. However, as her 100th birthday approached on Aug. 28, she said she didn't know why she wanted to live to be a centenarian.

"It's not something I would wish on anybody," Knudsen said while sitting in her room at the Woodbury Health Care Cente., "As I've gotten older, my body does not work the same as once before. The older you get, the more impossible things you have to live through."

However, Knudsen still beams when talking about her husband of 60 years Morris Knudsen. Morris, 90, also lives at the Woodbury Health Care Center and the nurses often bring him down the three floors to visit his wife.

"The nurses know we are supposed to be together," Knudsen said. "We've had a good marriage."

Knudsen met Morris in April of 1950, after he cut his wrist open while working at the butcher shop in Marshall, Minn. Knudsen worked across the street at a doctor's office and would always poke fun at Morris for wearing his butcher's hat when coming in for treatment. After his wrist had healed, the two ended up dating, and would meet every night at a restaurant next to the butcher shop.

"I insisted we always end our dates at 10 p.m.," Knudsen said. "He was a hard worker and I wanted to make sure he got enough sleep."

After a month of dating, the two were engaged. A month after that, they got married in June 1950. The marriage was Morris's second, he was a widower with three children. Knudsen was glad that he had children and two of them, Morris Jr. and Maureen, went on to live with the newlyweds. However, Janet, the youngest daughter moved in with Morris's sister because it was the only home she had known.

"I always wanted a pre-made family," Knudsen said.

Later, Knudsen had a child of her own, a daughter named Lynn. Now, Knudsen has 11 grandchildren and one great grandson.

"I just love my great grandson," Knudsen said. "He steals all the attention, but he is so cute no one minds."

Knudsen has taken many paths in her life. She worked as a bookkeeper at JCPenney, went to college at Winona for teaching, came back to Marshall to work in a doctor's office, worked at Northwestern Book Store in the cities and was a Sunday school teacher in St. Paul Park. She lived in St. Paul Park for many decades until moving into Woodbury Health Care Center several years ago with Morris.

On Aug. 28, Knudsen's family had a big party planned with lots of relatives and balloons, two favorites of Knudsen.

"I've had a storybook life," Knudsen said.