June 25, 2007

101 years old and still living strong

By Kelsey Linden
Staff Writer

When walking into the Golden Living Center in Delano, it’s not hard to spot a friendly and warm smile.

Even at 101 years young, Winnie Lebovsky continues to live her life to the fullest with happiness and that friendly smile.

Lebovsky has been a friend to the Delano community for more than 60 years, but her story began in Minneapolis, where she was born and raised.

Often, when recollecting her childhood, Lebovsky is drawn to think of her mother, Marguerite Dunn, and all the talents she had. With the goal in mind to become a teacher, Lebovsky’s mother taught her words and language to advance her knowledge.

Lebovsky said she thanks her mother every day for the discipline she showed her, and patience that she had with both her and her younger sister, Dorothy.

Smiling to herself, she recalled teaching after graduating from the University of Minnesota. Lebovsky taught in ‘rural’ school – which she remembers quite well, because it was around the time where she bought her first car for $125.

While teaching, she also met her husband, Frank, whom, she thinks of often. Truly, Lebovsky believes, it was because of her husband that she grew acquainted with Delano in the first place.

Her husband’s family was spread throughout Wright County, and Lebovsky said she always loved and adored all her relatives from Delano. She said with a smile, “I think that’s why I kept coming back.”

With World War II underway, her husband was drafted into the Navy. Later on, he died of a heart attack, which left Lebovsky feeling very lonely. She moved from their house in Minneapolis to the friendly community of Delano a year later, and has not called anyplace else home since.

“Oh, how I love Delano,” Lebovsky said with enthusiasm. “I like children, and I love my relatives. I thought I was alone, and then I came here to my nice family.”

Laughing to herself, she smiled brightly before saying, “There are so many of them around here.”

Having been in the nursing home for the past eight years, Lebovsky feels that her life is anything but over.

She starts each of her days with exercise, and some fun arts and crafts. In the past, Lebovsky has also done some tomato gardening.

“I like to take part in activities,” Lebovsky said. “I think if you make the effort, you can do anything.”

Lebovsky also collects seasonal figurines, and has practiced baking. In regard to her cooking in the past years, she smiled before saying, “I wasn’t a terribly good cook, but I think I got by.”

Lebovsky also enjoys going to church and praying the rosary. She loves to see Father Michael Miller come in.

What also makes living at the nursing home special for Lebovsky is her niece, Kathy Gow. Together, they share a room, and often spend a great deal of time together.

When asked how she felt about Kathy and her living together, Lebovsky said, “I can be kind of bossy sometimes, but she puts up with it.”

Last year, Lebovsky was chosen as an honorary guest for the Fourth of July parade. Reminiscing, her eyes brightened as she said, “Oh, was that fun. All the way around town with the people clapping and laughing. Oh, that was fun.”

Having just celebrated her 101st birthday this past May, Lebovsky looks at her life as a gift.

“I like life now, the way things are,” she said. “You can’t have any regrets. You’ve got to live with what comes and make the best of it. I don’t feel like an old person, or at least I don’t want to be.”

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