Letter: More to longevity than just statistics

From: Carol Hayes


This letter is written in regard to the Aug. 24 Republic article about the three residents at Green Tree Assisted Living residence who are turning 100 years old.

First, credit should be given to Kim Harper, the activities director at Green Tree, who through many efforts persisted in getting this article written. My father, Ken Welkie (whose name was spelled incorrectly in the article), turned 100 on Aug. 18.

While the article on these three remarkable residents was good, I feel that The Republic should have devoted more space to their 100-year-old lives rather than statistics of longevity.

Although my father is unknown to most people in Columbus, I would like to honor my father (and mother) now rather than in some future obituary.

My father moved to Columbus 11 years ago after living on the family farm for 89 years, where he was born and raised and never had lived anywhere else. He farmed almost 400 acres by himself and through the earlier years had dairy cows and raised hogs and chickens. My mother, Ruth, was an equal partner in everything. They made a very good team. My mother cooked three healthy meals a day, mostly from their large garden, and butchered cattle, hogs and chickens. This is possibly why the both of them are extremely healthy to this day.

The Welkie farm, located in Wanatah in LaPorte County, was designated a Hoosier Homestead Farm in 1992, which means that the farm had been in the Welkie family for 100 years. My parents still own that same farm ground today. My father was an extremely hard worker and was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of most of them. My parents have three children, four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and are now enjoying three great-great-grandchildren.

While my parents worked hard, they also enjoyed life to the fullest. My dad liked to go fishing his younger years with a fishing buddy who was a neighbor farmer. My folks would go to Shipshewana for the weekly flea markets and auctions. My dad would buy old junk wicker furniture and restore it to its original state. They had many beautiful wicker pieces of furniture throughout their farm home that their children and grandchildren are now enjoying. My folks thoroughly loved to travel and took many memorable trips. They traveled to Hawaii for 19 years and spent six weeks at a time each year in Hawaii. That is some of their fondest memories.

My parents were completely independent until 1 1/2 years ago when my dad fell and broke his hip.

My dad and mom have lived their whole lives with a great faith in God and continue to put their trust in him for their future. So you see, there really is more to these extraordinary 100-year-olds than just statistics.