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Fargo’s oldest resident celebrates 111th birthday



Fargo, North Dakota – Helene Sandvig and her walker went into overdrive when they learned that attendees were already assembling for her birthday party on Friday, Nov. 25. Get out of Helene’s way and don’t use your wheelchair.

“How else would you get around? You have to get around,” Helene said smiling.

At a party held at Bethany Retirement Living in Fargo to celebrate Helene’s 111th birthday, friends and family gathered to show their support.

“It is fine, it is OK with me. I can get around. Is there going to be a party?” Helene said smiling. “Is this for me, this party?”

Helene experienced two pandemics, two wars, and challenging years while residing in rural Cass County.

“We milked cows, and raised pigs and chickens,” said Helene, who grew up on a farm near Chaffee, North Dakota.

Helene, 111, recalls her time as a schoolteacher in the 1920s when she would pick up her students in a horse-drawn buggy.

“I was a country school teacher,” Helene said proudly.

Few people can rival the cake she made.

“Oh my goodness, that’s quite a cake,” she said, looking at her decorated cake with the number 111 on it. “Oh my goodness, how old am I ? 111? Really?”

Helene relished every second of the get-together.

They were joined by great-great-nieces. Everyone was happy to see Helene, who is currently the second-oldest person in North Dakota, celebrate another year of life.

“Thank you for coming and sitting with me,” Helene said to a friend.

And whose attention does Helene have in the birthday contest? Clarabell “Grandma D” Demers of Grafton, North Dakota. She is 112.