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."