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Mayer proclaims ‘Lorna Guetzkow Day’ to honor 100-year-old resident
June 18, 2012

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

MAYER, MN – Lorna Guetzkow of Mayer has lived a lot of days (more than 36,500, actually), but May 3, 2012 is one that stands out from the rest.

It’s the day she turned 100, and also the date the Mayer City Council named “Lorna Guetzkow Day.”

“I couldn’t believe it – I was honored by the council,” Lorna said.

At the June 11 meeting, Lorna was presented with a special certificate, recognizing her for service to the community during her many years as a Mayer resident.

Lorna grew up in Glencoe, and a few years after graduating from high school, she married a Mayer native named Clarence.

Clarence was well-educated, with a business degree from Gustavus Adolphus College.

“It was a rarity in those days to finish high school,” Lorna said, adding that very few people went beyond that.

Savory sausages
In the early years, the couple ran a meat market in town, and lived in a house next to the shop.

“We had all homemade sausages,” Lorna said. “People would come for miles for that.”

Even when the store was closed, hungry customers would knock on the windows after going to the bar, asking for meat.

“They wouldn’t give up until you gave them something,” Lorna recalled.

Clarence later became the postmaster in town, and then switched to rural route letter carrying.

“They were both very active in the Rural Letter Carriers Association,” said Janet Guetzkow of Michigan, who is married to Lorna’s son, Roger.

Sports, sports, sports
The couple was also enthusiastic about sports.

“I’ve been watching sports almost all my life,” Lorna said, adding that she played on the girls’ basketball team at her high school.

In 1976, Clarence was elected to the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, the only Mayer resident to receive this honor.

The Guetzkow descendents inherited a passion for sports of all kinds, and are skilled at volleyball, soccer, hockey, basketball, softball, baseball, and more.

“We lived and breathed sports,” commented Joleen Guetzkow, the wife of Lorna’s son, Leon.

Although Lorna no longer plays sports, that hasn’t stopped her from being part of the action. She goes to as many of her family’s events as possible, and even catches a professional performance from time to time.

In 2010, for example, Lorna attended a Twins game, and was given a tour of the stadium.

“She did not run the bases,” Joleen laughed.

Happy at a hundred
Lorna still lives on her own in Mayer, but said she couldn’t do it without the help of Joleen, who lives a few blocks away.

“I couldn’t ask for better daughters-in-law,” she said.

Although Lorna has a pacemaker, and has had major hip surgery, she is grateful for her health. She is the second oldest of nine children, and many of her siblings have also had long lives.

“They’ve got the genes,” Janet said.

“She tries to eat right, and be God-fearing,” Joleen added.

Once a week, Lorna plays bingo and cards with other senior citizens in town.

“She’s known as the card shark over there,” Joleen said.

Throughout her life, Lorna liked to stay busy. She served as an office secretary for 12 years, was in the choir at Zion Lutheran Church in Mayer 50 years, participated in Carver County Homemakers for 20 years, and was part of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League more than half her life. Lorna also helped initiate a committee for the Carver County Library, among other accomplishments.

In the past century, Lorna has observed a multitude of changes.

“From kerosene lamps to electricity, life is really different than 100 years ago,” she said. “You didn’t have the modern conveniences. It came in gradually, one by one.”

In the early years, horses were the main mode of transportation.

“I can remember the first Model T,” she said. “It was really something.”

Although she’s been alive longer than most, Lorna said life goes quickly no matter what.

“It doesn’t seem like 100 years,” she said. “Time just goes so fast, and all at once, it was here.”

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