Two 100-year-old women talk memories, COVID-19, and secret to a long, happy life

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A centenarian is a person who lives to 100-years-old. Park Place Senior Living is celebrating several of them this year. WANE 15 met two of them to talk memories, COVID-19, and the secret to a long, happy life.

Louise Hoch was born September 1, 1920. Did she expect to live to 100 years old?

“Oh, heavens no!” she exclaimed. “All my life I never thought I was going to be 100 until I got to being… oh, maybe 95.”

Hoch was born and raised in Fort Wayne, attending St. Catherine’s Academy for school. Later, her husband, Edward, went overseas to the battlefields of World War II while she worked stateside as a telephone operator at The Home Telephone Company.

She said she’s amazed by all the social and technological progress she saw over her century of life, including Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

“Wow, it really was a busy time.” she said, reminiscing. “One thing right after the other. When you sit back and think, my gosh.”

Of all the hardship Hoch has seen, she said the coronavirus pandemic is the worst.

“I can’t think of anything worse than this,” she said. “It is so awful and it doesn’t seem to be getting much better.”

Her friend at Park Place, Pauline Rekeweg, was born on December 28, 1920. Rekeweg is enjoying her century-long life.

“I’m living high on a hog,” she said playfully.

Rekeweg was born in Napoleon, Ohio, but spent most of her life in Woodburn, Indiana. She helped her husband, Herbert, grow corn and wheat on their farm.

Pauline Rekeweg (left), born Dec. 28, 1920 and Louise Hoch (right), born Sept. 1, 1920.

“He was a good husband,” she said. “He never got mad. I just loved him from beginning to end.”

The couple had three kids, eight grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.

Hoch went one step further with two great-great-grandchildren, along with six children, 13 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

And when all those young ones ask these century-old women what’s the secret to a long, happy life they have simple answers.

“Forget about them bad things,” said Rekeweg. “Just enjoy life.”

“Keep active, walk, keep those legs going,” Hoch said. “Because as fast as you move, that’s as long as you’re going to live.”

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