Palo Alto resident celebrates centennial birthday

Neighbors, friends throw Margaret Marquardt, 100, a birthday tea

Margaret Marquardt, a resident of Palo Alto for nearly six decades and former registered nurse, celebrated her 100th birthday with family, neighbors and friends over a tea party hosted by members of Trinity Lutheran Church on Saturday (Sept. 24).

Marquardt was born Sept. 23, 1911, in Montana. She grew up on her father's ranch and studied nursing at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. She and her husband, Walter, moved to Palo Alto and raised four children.

She worked as a security personnel at the Stanford Shopping Center with the police department for 25 years and ran a first-aid room there. She gave care to people, sometimes for free, until her nursing license expired when she was 97.

"The phone kept ringing yesterday," the sprightly Marquardt said. "Family and friends all called, and I couldn't get off the phone."

Congratulations also came from as far away as the White House. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama signed a letter for her centennial birthday.

Marquardt lives independently and prepares her own meals.

"I do all the cooking myself. My son, Donald, is my grocery shopper," she said, "and I like vegetables and a little meat, potatoes and oat meals for breakfast, good for my heart."

Her daughter, Kathy Gooyer, admitted that her mother, in her 80s, once "out-rode her" when riding horses on a hill. Not only is she still very healthy, friends said she also has a superb memory.

Victor Hesterman, a member of the church and friend, said, "Margaret remembers the day when the church was first moved here in the 1950s. She still remembers that, very clearly."

During the Q&A session of the tea party, Marquardt answered many questions about her life in vivid details, including the name and color of her favorite horse in Montana.

She told the Weekly that her secret recipe for healthy life and longevity are a combination of "good food and working hard, never laying around." And she also added that "I am always working on my legs. I like to do everything. I don't worry about a thing. No stress. I am happy all the time. I try to be nice and everybody is nice to me."

"She is our neighborhood grandma," said her granddaughter Michelle Gooyer. "Her charisma had brought people in the neighborhood together."

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Like this comment
Posted by RussianMom
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Dear Margaret,
We wish you a very happy birthday with many many more to come!
You look absolutely beautiful and keep us all in tune to follow your example.

Like this comment
Posted by Liz
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

Happy Birthday Grandma! We all love you very much!!! XOXOXOX

Like this comment
Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 29, 2011 at 8:37 am

Dear Margaret,

As one whose grandfather lived (and practiced as a pharmacist) beyond 100, you fall into that special class of people. Although we have never met, I would bet that you are a very kind, caring and thoughtful person, just like my Grandpa Leonard. Although he had a (1955) television set, he never watched it, but instead enjoyed listening to talk radio.

Take care Margaret and continue with more birthdays - you must be doing something right.

Warmest regards,

Andy Freedman

Like this comment
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 29, 2011 at 10:55 am

Wow! Happy Birthday!!

You and my grandmother have the same birthdate with 10 years in between. You may even know each other - she has been in Palo Alto 60+ years as well.

We celebrated her 90th at Micheals Shoreline with friends and family (5 generations) on Saturday and tomorrow she leaves for Bhutan, Kathmandu Nepal and Thailand for a month long trip.

Like this comment
Posted by terryg
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 29, 2011 at 11:07 am

Happy happy birthday!!

Like this comment
Posted by Leonard's
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Happy Birthday Margaret! We were sorry to miss your tea party, but we are thankful for such a nice story in the paper. You are a "shining" example to everyone you meet. We are hopeful that you are blessed with many more birthdays to celebrate!
The Leonard family from Trinity

Like this comment
Posted by Dolores Marquardt Steubing
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2011 at 4:24 am

Congratulations! Eventhough we do not know each other, I see that those who do know you think very highly of you. To have been blessed with 100 happy healthy years is truly amazing. Our family lives in the Hill Country of Texas, 50 miles north of San Antonio. One of our events venue employees found your story and forwarded it to us. Our events venue is The Marquardt Ranch, built on my family's 500 acre ranch where I grew up. I wonder if we are related?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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