On October 13th my grandmother, Marie Ring celebrated her 107th birthday. The party was thrown in her honor by the staff at St. Otto’s in Little Falls. she was joined by friends, family members and a group of fellow residents who stopped by to offer her a birthday greeting.

Even at 107, my grandmother still knew it was her day. When I arrived for the party she poked fun at her ever increasing age by saying, “So, how old am I now 175?”

Marie Ring, 107th Birthday


But beyond her long life, my grandmother was unique because she refused to get married until she was over the age of 30, she aspired to be a nurse,  she wore bright red flowers even though her father scolded her for doing so after she was married.  It was those who stepped away from the social norms, those who aspired to be something more than a wife and a mother who opened the door to the opportunities women today enjoy.

Here are a few pictures that help tell her story:


       Marie Reichel, Wisconsin

Marie, husband George and daughter Dee.  The brightly colored dress that drew critisism because it was not the simple attire of a married woman and mother. She beams while defying tradition. This is my favorite picture, it is framed in her room in St. Otto’s.

Marie, George & Dee

Marie, George and Dee Ring

Marie, George and Denny

Marie, George & Denny

Marie & Daughter-in-law Sandy in Seattle, WA….its 1960 something. My grandmother came to live with us after my grandfather died. She traveled for the first time, and fell in love with the west coast. 

 She loved the ocean…

She loved her grand children… (pictured: Kelly, Tracy & Jody)

and her great grand children. (Great grandchildren pictured here: Alexa, Jeremy, Kyle, Nicholas & Benjamin)

Marie celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday the 13th with a full moon in October of 2000. She lived alone until she was 101.

In 2006, she lost her youngest and only living sibling Eva, who in her 90’s, lost the battle to cancer.  Months later, Marie became one of the oldest immigrants in the country to earn her American citizenship, passing the compentency test without use of a medical waiver.

Happy Birthday Meema Wing,

Olive Rockfish