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Newport woman celebrates 100th birthday

Helen Petrowske receives a tiara from Margaret Zellmer during a Nov. 22 party at Red Rock Manor in Newport to mark Petrowske's 100th birthday. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente1 / 2
Helen Petrowske, who turned 100 last week, said the key to her long life has been: "No smoking. No drinking. No carousing around." She admitted, however: "I have a drink (sometimes) now, though." Bulletin photo by Scott Wente2 / 2

Helen Petrowske stopped driving just last year, but shows few signs of slowing down.

With help from family and friends at Red Rock Manor in Newport, Petrowske celebrated her 100th birthday last Tuesday.

"I think it's great," Petrowske said of the Nov. 22 luncheon in her honor, adding that she did not expect such commotion.

Petrowske has lived at Red Rock Manor for about six years. She plays bingo on Wednesdays and finds other ways to stay active.

"I watch those lousy Vikings," she joked.

Petrowske, a West St. Paul native, has been a Newport resident for 60 years. Years ago she and her husband, Vincent, raised black Labradors and trained dogs. She also enjoyed bowling and golfing.

"Helen's just a little dynamo," said Al Risberg, the former Red Rock Manor manager who was on hand for Petrowske's big day.

Relatives and neighbors took turns greeting Petrowske in a packed dining room at Red Rock Manor last Tuesday, Nov. 22. They sang "Happy Birthday," greeted her with hugs and stories and shared lunch and birthday cake.

The key to a long life is threefold, Petrowske said.

"No smoking. No drinking. No carousing around," she said.

Then she leaned in to admit: "I have a drink (sometimes) now, though."

The city recognized her birthday, declaring Nov. 21-25 Helen Petrowske Week in Newport.

Petrowske is one of two 100-year-old women at Red Rock Manor. She shares that distinction with fellow resident Rose Wilhelmy, the focus of a similar birthday celebration last February.

"There must be something in the water here in Newport," Risberg said.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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