Churdan woman celebrates 100th birthday with Hy-Vee bash


Mary Geisler has eight children, 22 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

With a family so large, it can be difficult to get everyone in one place. But, on July 2 at Hy-Vee in Carroll, at least one person from all five generations was represented.

It was a special occasion: Mary, of Churdan, was turning 100 years old.

The celebration began the previous weekend with a large party at the family’s nearby farm. The party brought a large number of people and was complete with fireworks, a petting zoo and more. But on the day of Mary’s actual birthday, family members decided on one other surprise for her: a lunch and shopping trip at her favorite place to shop, Hy-Vee.

Shopping at Hy-Vee is one of Mary’s favorite activities, but she isn’t able to leave the house as much anymore because of her age. Her whole family knows how much she loves those shopping trips and how much she loves Hy-Vee, so it wasn’t a difficult choice when they were choosing where to surprise her.

The Hy-Vee Market Grille was set for the scene as 1 p.m. approached. Balloons and flowers decorated the table, adorned with a cake topped with pink and white frosting.

Mary thought she was just going shopping — which to her already was exciting enough — but when she was first taken into the Hy-vee Grille instead of directly into the shopping aisles, she was a bit confused.

“Happy Birthday!”

As she took in the scene in front of her, Mary put her head in her hands in disbelief. As she dropped her hands from her face, her eyes lit up as she looked at her family around her.

Excited chatter filled the room as family members of all ages took their turns congratulating Mary and speaking with her, Mary still overwhelmed with emotion. She said the surprise was definitely a success.

“This is such a surprise,” she said with a laugh. “These kids are something else, I tell ya.”

The venue was also the perfect choice for Mary, as she was also extremely excited to go shopping.

“It’s my first time out in a long time,” Mary said. “I’m going to go crazy.”

Mary was born in the morning of July 2. On that morning a century later, she told her son that although she was turning 100, she felt like she was turning 45. Starting in 1938, Geisler taught country school for eight years. She married Ed Geisler and raised their children together as well as run a farm. 

So, what’s the secret to living to 100 years old? Mary says that it’s about always moving forward.

“I have learned to not let things bother me,” she said with a contented smile. “I throw things over my shoulder and forget it.”

Even though this celebration was for Mary’s birthday, she was still was focused on her loving family who surrounded her.

“It’s pretty special,” she said. “I wish everybody else is as happy as I am.”

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