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Century celebration - Pine River woman marks her 100th birthday

Pine River’s Marian Chindvall celebrated her 100th birthday Sunday, June 10. Despite recent health issues, Chindvall still tries to be an active member of her church and her community. Submitted Photo

Fire engines were pulled by horses, kids ran outside when they heard the popcorn man coming, and the United States was recovering from World War I.

That's what life was like when Marian Chindvall came into the world in 1918.

Though so much has changed over the last century, one thing hasn't.

Chindvall is still here to talk about the olden days. Today, she's 100.

"I don't really think of it as a number," Chindvall said of turning 100 on June 10. "I just like every day. I feel good every day."

Though a few health issues have plagued her lately - like a fall resulting in broken ribs in April and the recent placement of a pacemaker - Chindvall still tries to be as active as she can in her Pine River community. She attends First Lutheran Church, where - before her fall - she participated in the choir, weekly Bible study and several women's organizations.

"I've got a real good church family," she said. "I'm never lonesome."

"All her good friends help take care of her," Chindvall's daughter, Lynn Stalker, said.

Stalker is one of Chindvall's five living children, who - along with many friends - take turns staying with their mother so she's still able to live in her own home.

It's the home she shared with her late husband, Edward, since they moved to Pine River around 1980. Before that, the Chindvalls moved several times between Nebraska, Iowa and other Minnesota cities. Edward worked as a pastor, while Marian held jobs as a nurse's aide, a stenographer and a clerk/supervisor at an insurance agency.

Though her husband died in 1993 - after 48 years of marriage and six children - Chindvall still feels at home in her Pine River townhouse.

"I've found this to be a very homey, friendly location," she said of Pine River.

Many of those friendly faces helped Chindvall celebrate her 100th birthday with a party after church on Sunday. Both biological and honorary family members gathered for the festivities.

Along with her kids, Chindvall has nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. But she can't forget to mention her close ties with so many of the children at church.

"They all call her grandma and great-grandma," Stalker said. "She's grandma to everybody."

With so many friends and family members always surrounding her, it's no surprise that Chindvall has been asked several times if there's a special secret for a long life. Maybe it's in her genes, as her mother lived to be 108. Or maybe it's out of her control all together.

"I say it's God's secret," she said. "I haven't done anything on purpose. It just happens."