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With a little help from her friends: 105-year-old credits pals for longevity

Friends. That's Evelyn Gilmore's reason for her longevity. Gilmore turns 105 years old today. "The more friends, the merrier. I used to tell my boys, 'You never have too many friends,' " Gilmore said Wednesday during a birthday celebration in her...

Evelyn Gilmore, who turns 105 today
Evelyn Gilmore, who turns 105 today, is serenaded by fellow Waterford at Harwood Groves resident Ray Green during her birthday celebration Wednesday. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Friends.

That's Evelyn Gilmore's reason for her longevity.

Gilmore turns 105 years old today.

"The more friends, the merrier. I used to tell my boys, 'You never have too many friends,' " Gilmore said Wednesday during a birthday celebration in her honor at the Waterford at Harwood Groves, where she lives. "I just love my friends."

And it is evident her friends feel the same. As numerous well-wishers and fellow residents paraded through the doors of the Waterford, none could resist giving her a hug or hearty handshake.

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In the hallway stand photos from her life, black-and-whites from the 1920s when she first met her husband, Tim. Some from the turn of the century show wedding pictures of Gilmore's parents and grandparents. Color photos show her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A majority of the pictures show Evelyn with her friends. A 1922 photo shows Evelyn and her basketball team, of which she was a captain. Another shows her and a friend with tennis rackets.

Gilmore said she has always loved sports; her steely-blue eyes still spark with excitement over one of her favorite teams: the Twins.

Gilmore is known to have won more than one bet on a Twins game. She may not get onto the courts much anymore, but regular bridge games with her friends are still a staple in her routine.

Gilmore was born Evelyn Anderson in 1905 in Willow City, N.D., one of seven children. She attended school in Minot and was trained as a teacher. She and husband Tim raised two sons in the Fargo area, where Evelyn also taught special education.

With 104 winters under her belt, Gilmore may be one of the oldest living women in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Data Center does not keep official records to track the oldest living people, but refers to the Gerontology Research Group based in Los Angeles. The group tracks and verifies supercentenarians - 110 years old or more - and lists none as living in North Dakota.

This week, Gilmore's son, Jack, 79, made the trek to Fargo from his home near San Diego to help celebrate.

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Jack Gilmore says he

and his late wife tried numerous times to talk his mother into moving to the warmer weather, especially after his father died in 1973, but she wouldn't budge from her home.

"Well, I've always been happy here," Evelyn Gilmore said. "It's a good, healthy state. I don't mind the cold - you just look forward to spring."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

Related Topics: BIRTHDAYSHEALTH
As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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