100-year-old’s life filled with ‘many blessings’

Published 9:06 am Saturday, October 10, 2009

Eleanor Anderson Berg was born on Sept. 20, 1909. She is the daughter of Andrew and Carrie Anderson. Andrew came to America in 1888, when his family emigrated from Sweden. Carrie’s grandparents, Eleanor’s great-grandparents, were pioneers who traveled to Minnesota by covered wagon originally settling in the Freeborn and Wells areas.

Eleanor was born during the William Taft presidency. She was born the year Robert Perry made his famous expedition to the North Pole. Her birth was about 2 1/2 years before the Titanic. The average income was about $1,136 per year. A gallon of gas cost approximately 8 cents per gallon in 1909.

Eleanor grew up on a farm near Matawan. She was the oldest of seven siblings. She graduated from New Richland High School in 1927. She remembers Civil War veterans being in the parades in New Richland. She can recall riding the train to Montana to visit relatives during the early 1900s. She also remembers her family’s first car in 1918. It was a Maxwell. She can remember the day the Armistice was signed marking the end of World War I. There was a loud ringing bell in nearby Matawan alerting the countryside that the war was over.

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Eleanor was married to Morris Berg on Feb. 24, 1930. During their 64 1/2 year marriage, Eleanor and Morris enjoyed many blessings. Four daughters were born to their family. They are: LaVonne Lee of Hartland, Connie Smidt of Albert Lea, Harriet Johannsen (deceased) of Freeborn, and Alice Brecke now of Buckeye, Ariz. Morris and Eleanor lived through the Great Depression and World War II. They farmed for many years on the Waseca/Freeborn county line between Hartland and New Richland. They also milked cows. Upon retirement, they enjoyed some traveling including many winters in Arizona visiting their daughter and her family. Morris passed away in September of 1994.

Family has truly been most important to Eleanor over the years. Eleanor has been rich in memories that she has willingly shared. Her love of learning and undying faith has been a great influence to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She now has two very young great-great-granddaughters as well.

On Sept. 19, many family members and friends gathered to wish Eleanor a happy 100th birthday at a special celebration held at St. John’s Lutheran Home. An appearance by Mayor Mike Murtaugh of Albert Lea was a highlight for Eleanor and her family. He presented her with a special certificate honoring her 100th birthday.

All of Eleanor’s surviving daughters were present and all of her grandchildren were also able to attend this special event.