Irma Rohls celebrates her 100th birthday with her family and friends – Ripley Publishing Company, Inc.

A century brings many changes and Irma Rohls has lived it all. She celebrated her 100th birthday with her family and friends recently.

“Oh, it was an amazing experience,” Irma said softly, recalling the day and what it meant to receive over 160 cards and reunite with family and friends at the River Terrace Health Campus in Madison, where she lives now.

Many festivities took place during the month of June to mark the occasion. Irma talked about having her 90-year-old sister, Ruth Althoff, who lives in Greenwood, for a visit, having a balloon crown, crab cakes and baked tomatoes (her favorites) for lunch, and all the other things lavished on her for this occasion. The cards, well over 100, varied in size, shape and design – all congratulating Irma on a life well lived. “She read every single one of them,” noted her daughter, Phyllis Armbrecht.

Lots of laughs and a few tears were shared as her daughters, Phyllis Armbrecht and Ellen Mulford, reminisced with their mother in a recent interview with The Versailles Republican.

How to achieve the goal of living to 100?

“You get there day by day,” Irma said. It’s so simple. She loved, she lived and she laughed through the years of birth and death, sickness and health, clinging to her faith.

Born to Henry and Louise Hurelbrink in Dewberry, Irma lived a storybook life in a rural family. That was before electricity, before indoor plumbing. She lived in the one-room school days, walking about a mile to school in Correct, transportation being the horse and buggy and later a Model T car. other kids would get together at garden time and cook food on the stove at school,” Irma explained. She said that her dad and other dads cut a lot of wood for the school stove and that at recess the students stacked wood while playing pick-up sticks! “We were having fun!” she exclaimed.

She remembers buying a five-pound block of ice cream from Hubert Lowe’s creamery on the north side of the square in Versailles, wrapping it in newspaper and burlap, then making delicious ice cream every weekend with her grandparents. Irma was quite famous for her ice cream and often made five to seven different flavors for Fourth of July family picnics.

Irma graduated from eighth grade with a grand, county-wide ceremony at the Osgood Fairgrounds. She said the governor or a state dignitary would speak at the graduations which included about five schools. Next, she attended Versailles High School and attended the new Tyson School in its first year – the first year it was built.

As her mother always wanted to be a nurse, Irma thought she would do this job. She began her formal training at Christ Hospital School of Nursing by taking a bus to Cincinnati and then taking a streetcar to the hospital. This is where she had a little problem with her birth certificate. “I guess I never needed it until then,” she laughed, saying the county records were kept by Fallis Funeral Home in Osgood at the time. When she went to get a copy of her birth certificate, there was a problem – her name was James Robert on the papers. “They had the right date, June 16, but not the name!”

Irma recounted a simpler time when a radio was made from a cigar box and she had to learn to drive the 1937 Ford when she was just 15 without a license. “My dad was sick in bed when I was in second grade,” she explained. She said, “I just knew I had to put it in second gear to get down the hill in Madison.” There, as she parked with satisfaction, she turned to see that she had parked right next to the police department.

Of her first husband, Arnold “Shorty” Obendorf, and the father of her children, she said, “We had a fight.” When questioned, she said it was when she was trying to teach Ellen to play the piano. “He came out and said, ‘This is not good.

But, Irma agreed that it all worked out and Ellen took music lessons in Cincinnati at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and learned to play the music she still loves to hear to this day.

Irma has many experiences and worked for many years, only retiring at the age of around 75 after serving as a school nurse for South Ripley Corporation. She had worked at Reliance and Jefferson Proving Ground after starting her first job at Margaret Mary Health.

She was an accomplished homemaker and mother where she provided many wonderful meals, baked wedding cakes and other delicacies, was a seamstress and crocheted. Until a few years ago, she cooked her own food and tried new recipes. She and her daughter, Phyllis, took upholstery lessons together, along with her sister-in-law, June. She also learned how to refinish furniture and remake rattan chairs.

Irma was a trailblazer in many ways, having been the first woman to serve on the board of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Olean, where she still attends today. She also taught Sunday school and sang in the choir and was the organist. She remembers the days of the Delco factory (before electricity) where an “armed strongman” had to pump the organ. She belonged to home economics clubs and an agricultural bureau, promoting many home and family activities.

Living in the electricity-free age of today’s electronic boom, Phyllis said her mother had one of the first word processors and had an iPad and cellphone where she likes to check her Facebook. She has traveled extensively as far as Germany. When there is a planned trip or activity, she is on board.

When she came to live in River Terrace in January of this year, there were still two states she hadn’t visited: North Carolina and Alaska. In March, the institution helped her check North Carolina off her to-do list. She flew there, escorted by staff, and stayed at the Biltmore and went to Chimney Rock. To go to Alaska, she is not sure, but if the opportunity arises and she wants to, she will go.

As she relaxed in her chair, she was holding a large novel she was finishing. Irma is an avid reader, does crafts, loves the library and the festivities that River Terrace offers. She enjoys living there, saying, “I met people I never would have met.” She gets her hair and nails done regularly and loves to play bingo.

Truly, Irma is always up for an adventure – what she says is life – a great adventure that she’s been allowed to have for a long time.