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Southwest Iowa woman dies a week after celebrating 100th birthday
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Southwest Iowa woman dies a week after celebrating 100th birthday


Evelyn Stortenbecker of Oakland died Saturday, according to her family.

A southwest Iowa woman who just celebrated her 100th birthday — and was featured in a Nonpareil story — last week has died.

Evelyn Stortenbecker, who turned 100 on Sept. 7, died Saturday at Griswold Care Center, according to her obituary.

Her daughter, Sherry Fox of Treynor, and son, Ronald Stortenbecker of Carson, along with EveryStep Hospice organized a party for her that was held Sept. 5 at Oakland Manor, where she was living at that time. Since visitors weren’t allowed inside, guests had to wish her happy birthday from outside her window. EveryStep furnished birthday cupcakes. About 44 relatives and close friends attended the party, Fox said Tuesday.

On Sept. 7, she enjoyed polka music performed — outside her window, of course — by Wayne Miller, who was hired by the family. She was a longtime fan of polka music and used to listen to “Polka Joe” on the radio, Fox said. About 15 were there when Miller played his accordion. The aides did open the window for Evelyn, who was hard of hearing, so she could hear the music better.

COVID-19 couldn’t stop Evelyn Stortenbecker from reaching her 100th birthday. She had tested positive for COVID-19 twice earlier in the summer but had tested negative during the last week of August, Fox said. The family matriarch did not show symptoms of the illness but already suffered from chronic respiratory problems, she said.

The family moved her to Griswold on Sept. 9, Fox said. There, EveryStep was able to get permission for the family to visit her on Sept. 11.

“We were there for five-and-a-half hours with her Friday, and she passed during the night,” she said.

Fox was not too surprised.

“She wasn’t doing real well at the party,” she said. “She had wanted to celebrate her 100th birthday for years. I think she made it to that and accomplished what she wanted, and that was it. I think when she reached 100, she just felt like ‘OK, I’ve reached my goal.’”

Besides her son and daughter, she is survived by five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Visitation was held Tuesday evening, and her funeral service will be today at 1 p.m., both at Cutler-O’Neill-Meyer-Woodring Bayliss Park Chapel. Interment will be at Zion Cemetery in Treynor.

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