North Dakota's oldest living resident celebrates 111th birthday

Clarabell 'Grandma D' Demers turned 111 on Wednesday. She is the oldest person living in North Dakota.

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GRAFTON, N.D. — All day Wednesday, Nov. 3, residents rolled into room 10 at the Lutheran Sunset Home to wish happy birthday to Clarabell Demers, who just turned 111.

"I never thought I'd go this far," she said.

It is believed she is the oldest living resident in North Dakota.

"I don't know how it feels, but I'm there. I got there," Demers said.

Even Gov. Doug Burgum sent a birthday card.


"Not very often people get cards from the president, but I did, anyway," Demers said.

She is known by many as "Grandma D" for a very good reason.

"I have no idea how many I have, but I have quite a few," said Grandma D, referring to the fact she has lost count of how many grandchildren she has. Her family said she has 19 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren.

Demers celebrated the big day in style, putting on her red lipstick for bingo.

After winning a game of bingo, she celebrated with the other residents of the home by eating cake and blowing out the candles.

"I just wished for good health," she said.

The residents also celebrated with one of Clarabell's secrets to a long life: four ounces of red wine each day. The 111-year-old is still known to visit JR's Bar for happy hour.

"Friends, I have a drink once in a while, which doesn't hurt anybody," she said.


When asked what she plans to do to get to 112, Grandma D's family said they got the same response they have gotten birthday after birthday after birthday.

"I don't think I'll get there, but I don't know. If I keep healthy, it's OK," she said.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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