Bertha Mohr, 104 Years Young

Schumacher, Cindy. "Bertha Mohr, 104 Years Young." Northwest Blade, 7 February 2013, 1 & 7.

Bertha Mohr in her youth.
Bertha Mohr celebrated her 104 birthday on December 27, 2013.

On December 27, 2012, Bertha Mohr celebrated her birthday. She is 104 years young, and she is loved by her family and many friends. Currently a resident at the Hosmer Senior Citizens Home, she keeps herself busy with many projects which include crocheting doilies and making dishrags and “scrubbies.”

She was born Bertha Maisch in 1908 on a small farm in McPherson County. She went to country school through the elementary grades but had quit to help her father on the family farm. During her childhood, working and cooking were a large part of her life, and she recalls milking cows and feeding cats as some of her chores.

Over the years, Bertha has told many stories of the past. Growing up in the Depression, she recalled Christmases without trees or presents because they had no money. They had to make do with what they had.  She remembers trips to Hillsview to pick up supplies and groceries, often taking horses and sleds in the winter. Supplies they were able to purchase were very important, because it was what they needed to survive. There was never enough money for anything extra or unnecessary.  Her granddaughter, Morgan Gruebele, said she always has a very optimistic attitude about her past saying, “It was a day just like always.”

She married Theobald Mohr in 1931 when she was 22 years old. They had four children; Lawrence Mohr Brandon, SD, Milton (Betty) Mohr, Hosmer, Doris (Milton) Adam, Rapid City, and Edna (Merle) Hieb, Eureka. Bertha has 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren.

Bertha and Theobald retired and moved to Hosmer after many years of farming. Theobald died in 1976. In order to keep busy, Bertha worked, first taking in sewing, then giving permanents and haircuts, and then working at the local meat market. Following that, she worked as a cook and a beautician at the Hosmer Senior Citizen’s Home, where she currently resides. Her final job was working for the Green Thumb Program as a baker and a cook until retiring in 1990 at 82.

Bertha’s granddaughter, Kim Gruebele, said that Grandma Bertha loves watching Wheel of Fortune, so every day at 6:30 p.m., she thinks of her. Kim also told us that her grandma was an avid bowler and would give the advice to “keep your thumb pointed up if you want to throw a strike.” These days, Bertha still enjoys bowling with the Wii at the Hosmer Senior Citizens Home.

Grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Bertha nearly salivate when talking about the wonderful smells that came out of her kitchen. Some of their favorite things Bertha made are strudels, cheese buttons, vegetable soup, lazy halupsie, caramel rolls, apple turnovers, and honey cookies. At family gatherings, she often floated around the kitchen, inspecting everyone’s work to make sure it was done just right. Even recently, her great-granddaughters giggle about her pushing her way up to the stove with her walker, still eager to make sure no one was slipping up on the job.

Bertha lived in her own home and maintained her independence until one day, at 97, she fell while chipping ice away from the front of her house. Unfortunately, the only room with a phone she could reach from the floor was in the back bedroom. She was able to crawl into and through the house, using her arms, to call for help. She had a broken hip which was repaired with surgery. After therapy and recuperation at Avera Eureka Health Care Center, she moved into the Hosmer Senior Citizens Home.

Still the consummate hostess when anyone stops in for a visit, Bertha offers them something to eat or a tomato beer to drink. She is always interested in what is going on in everyone’s lives and keeps up on the latest news. Her positive attitude and gusto for life are an inspiration to all who have the privilege of knowing her.  “When we visit and it’s time to say goodbye, we tell her we love her, and she responds with ‘I love you now and I always will,’” said Kim.

Printed with permission of the Northwest Blade.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller