By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN Martha Fitzpatrick, a resident of the Good Samaritan Society - Howard Lake (GSS) for nearly six years, turned 100 years old May 12.
Her birthday was celebrated May 7 at GSS, with guests encouraged to donate food for the food shelf rather than send gifts and cards.
Because of the generous donations made by her friends and relatives, 143 pounds of food was delivered to Wright County Community Action in Waverly May 9.
Martha was born in 1911, to Andrew and Julia Quast of Winsted. Her father built many of the big barns that are still standing on farms throughout the area, according to her daughter-in-law, Sue Fitzpatrick.
Growing up a devout Catholic, Martha attended Holy Trinity School, graduating in 1930, said her son, Tom Fitzpatrick.
Martha enjoyed attending dances, and went with “whoever would take me,” she said.
At one of those dances she met Jack Fitzpatrick, who had been a semi-professional boxer and worked as security at the dances, said her son, Jerry Fitzpatrick.
The couple was married in 1935, and moved to their farm just south of Waverly.
Martha followed in her mother’s footsteps, helping on the farm, taking care of the house, and cooking.
“There was more of it. We didn’t have the conveniences you have now,” Martha said about housework.
Martha and Jack farmed 160 acres, planting mostly corn and oats. The oats were sold, and the corn was fed to the pigs, Martha said.
The couple also milked about 20 head of cattle, and had chickens and horses.
The horses they had were workhorses, used in the field, and to pull the wagon to get to church, Martha remembered.
They went to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Winsted, and sometimes did not make it to church in the winter because of bad weather.
To stay warm on the winter rides in the wagon, Martha remembered wearing wool dresses and using wool quilts.
In those days, Martha always wore a dress, even while working at home making food and cleaning.
Martha and Jack had two sons, Jerry, born in 1946; and Tom, born in 1949.
During spring planting, fall harvest, and in the summer during haying season, the men worked in the fields while the women cooked for them.
“It was a full-time job to do all that cooking,” Jerry said about the work his mother did.
Martha and Jack enjoyed spending time with their friends, playing cards, and going to dances, Sue said.
Jack passed away in 1971, and Martha remained on the farm until 1976, when she moved to the Waverly Community Homes, Tom said.
She was 94 years old when she moved to GSS. Although she cannot remember everything, Martha is still sharp as a tack when it comes to multiplication tables and spelling, Jerry said.
Many of the people who work at GSS think she was a school teacher because she will randomly start spelling things, but she never worked outside the home.
“She was a semi-strict mom, and a pretty strict Catholic, never swearing or anything,” Jerry said. “She was an intelligent woman.”