Vera Minnaert was greeted with “Happy Birthday” on New Year’s Day. The petite lady celebrated her 104 th birthday on Jan. 1 at the Long Term Care facility at Hammond-Henry Hospital in Geneseo where Minnaert’s family and hospital staff honored her in style, complete with birthday cake and balloon.
Before joining her family for the birthday celebration, Minnaert talked about the things she likes, including the Cubs, but said she doesn’t think they are going to win another World Series any time soon. She is an avid fan of Cubs player Anthony Rizzo. Two sons, Jack Minnaert and Mike Minnaert played baseball in their youth which is when their mother’s love of baseball and the Cubs began. She also attended a Cubs game at Wrigley Field where she traveled on a bus trip.
Even though her eyesight is failing and she is somewhat hard of hearing, Minnaert watches the Cubs games on television and keeps score with her own pad of paper and pencil.
“I think not having good eyesight and not being able to hear very well stinks,” Minnaert said, as she waved her polished manicured fingernails in the air. She is very particular about her appearance and has her hair and nails done every week. Minnaert’s daughter-in-law, Carol Minnaert, is a beautician and makes certain her mother-in-law’s hair always looks good.
Minnaert also likes clothes and jewelry and has a wide selection of clothes for each season. Daughter-in-law Linda Minnaert said, “She loves nice clothes and I have four wardrobes in my basement with her clothes for different seasons. Vera can remember what clothes she has in those wardrobes and will ask that we bring certain items of her clothing to the hospital. She also wears jewelry every day and she is very aware of how she looks and I think that helps to keep her going every day.” Minnaert also plays cards with other residents at Long Term Care as well as with her sons and their wives. The birthday lady also admits to liking chocolate candy and cereal mix. Her children commented on how good their mother’s memory is and Linda Minnaeart
said, “She really is in excellent health.”
Vera (Rist) Minnaert was born Jan. 1, 1916, in Kewanee, and was married to Walter (Bud) Minnaert on Feb. 6, 1937, in Atkinson, where the couple made their home. Mr. Minnaert died in 1956 at the age of 43, when Vera Minnaert was 37 years old. Minnaert worked at the Atkinson Post Office until her retirement and prior to that, she drove a school bus and her sons recalled that she also washed the football uniforms for the football team when they attended the former Atkinson High School.
There are three sons, Jack (Carol) Minnaert, Atkinson; Mike (Linda) Minnaert, Geneseo; and Ken Minnaert, Springfield. There are seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. One great-grandchild is deceased.
Jack and Carol Minnaert’s grandson, Mark Ashcraft, Chicago, works for the Cubs facilities which also bring the ties closer to the team for his great-grandmother. Minnaert lived in her own home in Atkinson until she was 99 years old when she moved to Long Term Care at Hammond-Henry Hospital. She has only been using a wheelchair for the last few months and until that time, was very mobile using a walker.