WINTERSET, Iowa -- On January 14th, Winterset resident Ruth Lampe--or Ruthie, as many call her--turned 104 years old.
Lampe said she told her friends not to do anything to celebrate this year, but they did not listen, and instead held a birthday party for her at the Winterset Senior Center.
“On Mondays and Tuesdays Ruthie comes and makes coffee, cleans tables, wraps silverware, visits with people,” said Center Director Sharee Owens. “She's a little spitfire, we love her to death. We look forward to Mondays and Tuesdays because she makes it a brighter day.”
“I lived on a farm all my life. I grew up south of Corning in Adams County,” said Lampe. “I was one of five kids. My mother died when I was two weeks old, my dad remarried two years later.”
Now, Lampe is like a mother to those around her town.
“I recently lost my mom, and a lot of people around here like my mom now. They're special, and she's even more so,” said Owens. “There's nothing she won't try or do. She still gets up on a ladder and try to change her own lightbulbs.”
Lampe has volunteered at the center longer than the full-time staff.
“I started working out here about 22 years ago,” said Lampe. “I work in the kitchen. I helped serve food.”
Owens said Lampe once told her she never would have sold her house if she had known she would live so long.