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Star Lake native, 103, has lived through 18 presidents

Marcella Lange, who grew up near Star Lake, has reached the age of 103. Tom Hintgen/Otter Tail County Correspondent.

It was an honor for family members sharing a Thanksgiving dinner this year at Broen Home in Fergus Falls with Star Lake native Marcella Lange, 103.

Also at the table was her sister-in-law Delores Voigt, 94, who also grew up near Star Lake. Both Marcella and Delores were raised on farms west of Dent and east of Pelican Rapids.

Joining them at the Thanksgiving table were Delores' daughter and husband, Sharon and Tom Hintgen, and their son Mark.

Marcella is still three years removed from matching her mother who lived to be 106.

This comes as no surprise to nursing home administrators who are seeing more and more centenarians residing in their facilities across Minnesota and throughout the nation.

Marcella, born in 1914, lived through World War I and wars in succeeding years. Woodrow Wilson was president when she was born and 17 other presidents have followed during her lifetime.

Twenty-eight years ago, in 1989, Marcella was in a five-generation photo. The ages were in increments of 25 years. Marcella was 75, her mother was 100, son Larry of Perham was 50, his son was 25 and Marcella's great grandson was a baby.

Delores' parents, Michael and Helen Lange, were immigrants from Prussia. She was the youngest of 13 children.

During the Great Depression in the 1930s several of the older Lange boys worked in Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps to help their family survive.

Marcella remembers when the severe drought during the depression forced farmers to cut cattails in Star Lake and use them to feed cattle.

Both Marcella and Delores were part of farm families who raised most of their own food, including eggs, chickens, dairy cows, beef cattle and pigs. They had work horses on their farms.

Their gardens supplied fresh vegetables during the summer and fall. They canned excess vegetables as well as chicken and beef.

Farm families got together with neighbors for socializing. Children and adults found ways to have fun, including piano playing, singing, enjoying board games, playing cards, having picnics, listening to the radio or playing sandlot baseball games.

Many people in Otter Tail County who survived the Great Depression later served their country during World War II, becoming what's now seen as The Greatest Generation.