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Helene Sandvig, Fargo's oldest resident, celebrates her 110th birthday

Fargo's oldest resident celebrates her 110th birthday at Bethany Homes Wednesday, Nov. 24.

FARGO — "I am just thankful to be here," Helene Sandvig said as she walked to her own birthday party at Bethany Homes on South University Drive.

On the way, Sandvig, 110, recalled her North Dakota winter teaching days in a one-room school.

"I picked up my students in a horse and buggy and when we got to the school building, there was a barn there, and the oldest boy put the horse in the barn and I would start the fire."

The party had it all.

The pumpkin cake, the 110 front and center, balloons and birthday royalty.

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Helene was born 1911 near Chaffee, North Dakota.

"Out on a farm, on those days, babies were born in the houses," she recalled.

She taught school and worked the farm in what she called a happy life.

Helene also sold what she grew on the farm to make ends meet, including strawberries and raspberries for 50 cents per quart.

She lived on her own even after turning 100, and she still thinks she could get behind the wheel at 110.

"I can still drive my own car," Helene said. "My car is still in the garage in Leonard."

That kind of "North Dakota tough" is why she's 110, and why so many showed up to tell her so.

"I am pretty lucky, not too many wrinkles in the face," Helene said, laughing.

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At 110 years old, Helene is now the 2nd oldest resident in the state of North Dakota. Clarabell "Grandma D" Demers of Grafton turned 111 this month.

Related Topics: PEOPLEFARGONORTH DAKOTA
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