Mildred Vanek (center), a resident at the Glenn Moore Meadows assisted living facility south of Holton, celebrated her 107th birthday with a Friday afternoon party, in which grandson Craig Brunell (left) and daughter Bonnie Sporer (right) helped her blow out the candles on her birthday cake. Vanek's birthday was Sunday.

Mildred Vanek celebrates 107th birthday

Upon reaching their 100th birthday, most people are asked the secret to their longevity. But Mildred Vanek, who celebrated her 107th birthday on Sunday, said she chooses not to worry about such things.

“We’re all put here for a purpose,” said Vanek, a resident of the Glenn Moore Meadows assisted living center south of Holton.

Family members and friends of Vanek gathered at Glenn Moore Meadows on Friday to celebrate her birthday and to reminisce about her life and times.

“She’s lived through the Great Depression, two world wars and umpteen conflicts,” said her grandson, Craig Brunell of Topeka. “She remembers her mother crying over friends that she lost on the Titanic, and she remembers when the Czar and the Czarina of Russia visited Canada just before they were assassinated in 1918.”

Vanek — born March 8, 1908, in Concordia, the daughter of John and Rachel Davies — spent most of her life in Cloud County.

Brunell said she has voted in just about every major election since women were given the right to vote in 1920 and claimed that “Granny” was also the first woman in Kansas to be issued a driver’s license.

“Her car is still parked out front,” Brunell said. “She quit driving two years ago, but she’s still a better driver than my mother!”

Vanek moved to Glenn Moore Meadows in July of last year, Brunell said. Before that, she had been living independently, making the first month of her transition to being a resident of the assisted living facility rough at first. But now, she says “it feels like family” there.

Vanek still has her sense of humor about her, Brunell said — a statement backed up by Glenn Moore Meadows manager Sherri Moore.

“She’s got an ornery streak,” Moore joked.

Vanek also had some local visitors at her birthday party on Friday. Her nephew, Tom Davies of Holton, was there to join her in enjoying a serenade from the Holton High School Notables singing group, as was her only daughter, Bonnie Sporer, who still lives in Clyde and will turn 87 in the next few weeks.

“As they get older, they become more and more alike,” Brunell said of his mother and grandmother. 

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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