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Margaret Hard (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Celebrating 100 years

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By Sarah Smith

Margaret Hard was the epitome of grace Thursday as she sat surrounded by the usual hubbub that accompanies a 100th birthday.

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The spunky centenarian greeted family, friends and other well-wishers at Diamond Willow Assisted Living center in Park Rapids with a buffet event decked out in lavender and teal green.

She was daintily nibbling on a cucumber sandwich, which she set aside to entertain the media.

Hard was a nurse by training, a graduate of St. Luke’s Hospital program in the Twin Cities.

She met her husband in the metro area. He seemed enamored by rural life so they moved to Baudette, where they lived for decades.

He passed away in 1975.

She lived on her own for the next five years until she was forced to relocate.

“They built an airport and crowded me out!” she said indignantly, her only flash of temper.

She moved to Northfield to be near her only son Amos and family in 1980.

In 2000, the whole group relocated to Park Rapids, where Amos had a lake home on 11th Crow Wing Lake.

Margaret came along and settled into Summerfield Place, where she quickly landed in the social circle that met weekly to fraternize and play bingo. It was a busy place and she loved it.

Many of her Summerfield neighbors showed up to celebrate with her Thursday.

She’d still be there if she hadn’t suffered some health problems and needed assisted living.

She diplomatically sidestepped experiences of the world wars and depression she’s lived through and instead focused on the good.

She loved travel and took bus trips through England, Germany, Switzerland and throughout the U.S.

As a registered nurse, she worked in a hospital setting then did private duty nursing for those that needed care. She’s helped deliver babies and render all types of care, she says matter-of-factly.

Her hobbies include gardening, growing flowers and making Christmas ornaments.

She makes it sound like 100 years breezed by and occasionally consults Amos or a granddaughter if she’s searching for a bit of the past she can’t quite put at her fingertips.

The family was still waiting on other family members to arrive as the cake was cut. It was decorated with teal and lavender flowers.

“There are all kinds of goodies here,” she says, inviting a stranger to stay.

The reception continued into the afternoon.

Margaret was still fresh as a daisy, greeting guests and chatting with her tablemates.

“You look the same as you did when you left,” said Dave Barnum, property manager at Summerfield.

She smiled graciously.

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Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

(218) 732-3364
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