Zelma “Sally” Lundquist, of Sparta, celebrated her 101st birthday on April 8, 2013 at the Porter Hills Meadowlark Retirement Center. Sally credited her longevity to her loving family, friends and a positive outlook on life in general. “People are my energy and I share that energy with everyone I meet as a way of thanking God for his gifts to me,” she said.
Sally was born in 1912 in Sparta. She had one sister, Ardith, who was also a resident at Meadowlark until her passing two years ago. Sally went on to graduate from Sparta High School in 1930. She and her husband Van had three children—daughters O’Linda and Paula, and a son, Sid.
Sally credits the type of work she was able to do as also being a strong influence in her life. She worked at the A&P Grocery for several years and also at the Lone Elm Restaurant in Sparta. She recalled being rewarded as a good employee at the grocery store when her supervisor allowed her to treat family and friends to pieces of cheese from a large cheese wheel at the store.
Sally went on to a position at the Post Office in Sparta, serving as the Interim Postmaster from 1937–1943. She enjoyed the many conversations she was able to have with the village residents. Sally also went on to serve the Village as the Clerk in the 1950s. After retirement, Sally continued an active life of service in Texas as a volunteer at the Rio Grande Regional Hospital in Pharr, Texas. She was part of the internal transportation department, moving patients from room-to-room in wheelchairs. Sally finally gave up the transportation position when she turned 96! During that service period, she was cited with the Frist Humanitarian-of-the-Year award and her portrait is still on display at the hospital.
When asked about her memories of events in her life, Sally recalled that she and people in her presence would be moved to tears when hearing stories about the sinking of the Titanic and the tragedies that ensued from that disaster for years after the event. She also remembered that her cousin Bill was a WWI veteran and how blessed the family was that he returned unharmed from his service. Other recollections included remembering the hard times of the Depression, which included “Chicken Feet Soup,” and the rationing of all supplies during WWII.
Three years ago Sally organized a high school class reunion for the class of 1930 from Sparta. She was happily surprised to have three members of a class of 29 come to the dinner. She is planning another this summer.