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Park Rapids woman turns 100 years young

Cora Boyer

A love of people and a good attitude is the secret to a long life, says Cora Boyer.

Cora is celebrating 100 years today (Wednesday), April 11.

She was born and raised in Kindred, N.D. When she graduated from high school she had wanted to be a nurse.

"But money was tight," Cora said. "It just wasn't the right time."

The full-blooded Norwegian with Lutheran roots recalls her mother saying, "don't marry a Catholic and don't marry a Swede."

She met William Boyer, a German, and married him at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead. The couple honeymooned in the Park Rapids area. They fell in love with the outdoors and moved here in 1935.

"I really like it here," she said.

When they first arrived in Park Rapids they worked for a farmer for $1 a day and room and board.

"It was tough with the Depression. But then we had our own place," Cora said.

The couple had a farm south of Park Rapids and had two girls and three boys.

She did a lot of baking and sewing. And, she did a lot of dancing with her husband.

"I love to dance and used to dance all the time when I was in North Dakota," Cora recalled. "We did waltzes and even the chicken dance. It was different here but still we had fun."

She hasn't danced since 1987 when her husband died of cancer.

Cora lived on the farm until just a couple years ago. She now lives at Woodland Court Apartments where she stays busy doing most things onher own.

"I wash my own clothes, do some cooking and baking, though not as much as I used to," she said.

She misses the flowers she had at the farm the most.

"There's just no room for them here," Cora said of her apartment.

She also stays informed about politics.

"I've always voted," Cora said. "The first President I voted for was Roosevelt. He was a good man."

She thinks politicians in recent years have "gotten a bit dirty. I think they need more women in there."

In the 1980s, when her husband was sick with cancer, Cora began writing a history of her life. The book includes photos of her family and outlines trips she's taken over the years.

She has spent many winters in Oregon, where two of her children live.

When she was younger, Cora and her husband, William, did a lot of camping.

"It was a lot cheaper to stay in a campground instead of a hotel," she said. "But you also meet all kinds of interesting people in a campground."

Cora still has a friendly nature and enjoys sharing stories with others. She stays upbeat as well.

"I love young people and the more I hang around them the younger I feel," she said.

She also tells people not to carry a grudge.

"I just don't believe in getting worked up about silly things and holding a grudge," she said. "I love life and love people."

Cora's family is hosting an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 14 at the Park Rapids American Legion in celebration of her birthday. No gifts.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561