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Pair of Heritage residents celebrate 103rd birthday

Anne Zingraf, left, and Adele Strike celebrated their mutual 103rd birthdays at Heritage Living Center on Monday. (Nicole Vik/Enterprise)

Adele Strike and Anne Zingraf celebrated 206 years of combined wisdom while hosting a joint birthday party in honor of their 103rd birthdays at Heritage Living Center on Monday.

Their family, friends and fellow residents sang "happy birthday, dear ladies" before enjoying 103 chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with red frosting.

"I guess we're friends for a day today since we're celebrating together. Happy birthday," Anne said, looking at Adele.

Adele Elenora (Petersen) Strike was born in Sebeka on April 16, 1914 to Ella (Steinkraus) and William Petersen.

Adele married Bennie "Oliver" Mellesmoen in November 1933 in Sebeka. Adele's family farm was located across the street from the Mellesmoen farm and she met Oliver at a dance.

After the couple married, they had a Holstein dairy farm where Adele worked the farm while raising their four sons — Dean, who passed away in October 1985; Duane, Delbert and Dennis — and their twin daughters, Sharon and Karen.

Oliver worked for Land O'Lakes, driving a milk truck. He passed away in December 1960. A year before he died, Oliver suffered a stroke and ended up contracting pneumonia which eventually took his life; their twin daughters were only 16 when he passed away.

After the twins graduated from high school, Sharon and Adele moved to the Twin Cities, where Adele worked for a bakery in St. Paul, where she met David Strike.

In March 1965, Adele and David were married. Shortly afterwards, the couple moved to McGregor, Minn. where they raised Hereford beef cattle.

After David passed away from cancer in August 1991, Adele moved to Park Rapids before relocating to Silver Bay for a while, where two of her sons lived, and then eventually back to Park Rapids where she now resides.

Adele has 22 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren.

"She is a very strong stubborn person that we love more than life and will miss her when she is gone. We are blessed to have her in our lives and I am blessed that with my daughter and grandsons we are a five-generation family," Adele's granddaughter, Val Gerlach Kimball, said, adding that Adele's mother, Ella, passed away at the age of 102, still living on her farm milking cows.

Anne Zingraf was born in Chicago, Ill. on April 17, 1914 to Frank and Angeline Kroll. She grew up with three sisters — Fran Trispel, Angie Wolanin and Lorraine Martin — and one brother, Ed Kroll.

She met and married her husband, Charles Zingraf, in Chicago where they lived until moving to Park Rapids many years ago.

Anne never worked outside of the home. Together, the couple had one son, Dennis, who lives in Park Rapids with his wife, Donna.

Anne has two granddaughters — Lonnie (Darren) Carlson, Laura Weinberger — and one grandson, Bryan (Christy) Zingraf. She also has also been blessed with five great-grandchildren: Whitney, Nick, Cody, Jake and Olivia.

According to Anne's ex-daughter-in-law, Carol Cruse, Charles passed away a few years ago.

Anne enjoyed her birthday cupcake with a cup of hot tea, which is said to be one of her favorites as well as playing cards with her family.

"She's a wonderful lady. She has always been very gracious and loving," Carol said. "And is loved in return by all who know her."