Everybody wants to know Verna Bloom’s secret. She’ll tell you being 106 years old “surprises” her because she has no big secrets to longevity — except maybe a positive attitude.
“Every day is a gift from God,” Verna is fond of saying.
The staff at Ecumen-managed Sunnyside Care Center in Lake Park, Minn., where Verna lives, has some insight into her longevity. They say she is always smiling and always thinking about and caring for others.
Randi Handegaard, the activity director at Sunnyside, says Verna participates in all the community events at Sunnyside and is interested in everything around her. “She has held the bowling ‘ traveling trophy’ several weeks in a row,” Randi says, “and she continues to crochet and participates in the house writer’s guild.”
Verna was born on a farm near Audubon, Minn., in Becker County, March 22, 1910, and was one of eight children. Growing up, she milked cows and worked around the family farm.
Verna met her husband Willard, nicknamed “Chubby,” when she was 22. He would come to Lake Park on his motorcycle and take her on rides. When she was 24 they got married and had two children.
She and Willard owned a hardware store in Lake Park, where she was the manager. She also cut and styled hair for many years and enjoyed playing the piano.
When she was in her 70s, after Willard died, she would go to Chicago for extended periods to babysit for her grandchildren, who gave her the nickname “Big V.” She is very proud of her family.
Verna stays active crocheting baby blankets for her great-great grandkids, and she never misses a Friday Bingo game. And she is always smiling.
Ecumen honors Verna Bloom. Happy 106th Birthday.