REACHING A MILESTONE: Edna Holmberg celebrates 100th birthday

Edna Holmberg recently celebrated her 100th birthday at the senior center. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Edna Holmberg was all smiles as her friends and family surrounded her at the senior center on Wednesday, in celebration of her milestone birthday.

But when you turn 100 years old, there is plenty to smile about.

Holmberg is a frequent attendee of the senior center, participating in the exercise classes on Monday and Wednesday each week. What began as a normal exercise session turned into a surprise celebration as her friends and family joined in on the fun.

“This has definitely been a most memorable birthday,” she said. “I was very surprised to see everybody.”

Although Holmberg was originally from Indianapolis, her father was from Massachusetts and her mother was from Varmland, Sweden, according to her daughter, Karen.

“(My mother and her siblings) grew up speaking Swedish until they went to school,” said Karen. “The school came to the parents and told them they had to speak English to the kids, no exceptions. So none of them retained Swedish.”

Edna married Warren Holmberg on April 3, 1943. She and her late husband shared a birthday, April 4, and so they were married the day before both their birthdays.

Holmberg spent most of her life in the Chicago area, and over the years worked as a Bell Telephone operator and a legal secretary. She and Warren later moved to Rocton, Ill., and they retired in 1976. Edna joined the Manistee community in 1990.

“She is an excellent cook and crafter, but specialized in Swedish cookies and coffee cake baking,” said her daughter. “She continued her crafts, and she and my dad did all of the shows in the area including the senior center (Senior Craft Show), which she will be doing again next week. Some of her recipes are in the senior center cookbook.”

As for her secret to reaching 100 years of age, Edna could only guess.

“I think it was more luck than brains,” she said with a laugh.

Edna, along with her friends and family, enjoyed cake at the celebration, along with birthday cards and a bingo game.

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