By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Evelyn Lovine is 103 years old. She’s not sure why, or how, she reached that age, she doesn’t think that she led a healthier life than anyone else. But, here she is, 103 years old, and still in good health.
“I feel good,” she said. “I’m thankful that I am able to help myself.” Lovine, with the aid of a walker, walks to the dining hall at the Lutheran Care Center three times a day.
Lovine said she never thought she would see so many birthdays. Her parents lived until their late 80s.
“I don’t have any choice in it, I cannot stop aging,” she said. Lovine lived a quiet life, never smoking or drinking, but always working hard. She said it may be the reason she has lived so long.
Lovine was born Nov. 25, 1908, to Oscar and Esther Martinson. Her father was the local butter maker, working at the Elmdale Creamery and then the Upsala Creamery. The family lived in the apartments provided by those businesses.
She graduated from Upsala High School in 1928, the same year as her younger sister, Edna.
“When I was ready to start school, my mother insisted on holding me back a year so I could be in school with Edna,” Lovine said.
Lovine remembers that there wasn’t much to Upsala when she was growing up. Yet it had two small grocery stores, Ramlo’s and Lillestrand’s, a cafe and a gas station. It also had the Upsala Telephone Company (now Sytek), which she worked at before and during her marriage.
“We lived in town, so I only walked about five blocks to school each day,” said Lovine.
Lovine remembers she was not an overly active child. She loved to read, and would spend hours on the Upsala Creamery roof reading.
“No one would bother me there,” she said.
Lovine was known in Upsala for her breads, rolls, cookies and cakes. She loved to cook in general and bake in particular.
Lovine said she also could not get enough of fishing. Her family owned a lake home. She said no one had to ask her twice to get in a boat with her pole. She and her husband Walter Lovine also went fishing whenever possible.
Lovine was 22 years old when the Great Depression hit. She said she lived with her family and doesn’t remember it affecting them very much. Her dad had the job with the Creamery and they lived in the provided apartment.
She met Walter through his sister Ellen, who was a friend. They married in 1946, when he returned from fighting in World War II.
Lovine, who was 38 years old when she married, said her mother didn’t want her to wed Walter.
“She didn’t have anything against Walter, she like him a lot,” said Lovine. “But she wanted me to stay home with her. I told her I was grown up now, and was going to run my own life.”
They lived with her mother for several years, Walter driving a milk truck, a school bus, then finally working at the Veterans Hospital in St. Cloud as custodian. They eventually built their own home in town.
During Evelyn and Walter’s married life, they had no children. They never made a lot of money, and when they tried to adopt, were told they didn’t make enough to support a family. But what they did have was lots of love.
When the Lovines’ neighbor passed away, leaving five children for their mother to raise, Lovine stepped in and helped all she could. Those children spent a lot of time at the Lovine home. They continue to keep in touch with Lovine, visiting whenever possible.
The couple’s love of children manifested itself at the Upsala High School. They attended many of its basketball games. In about 1978, the couple were named honorary grandparents to the Upsala basketball team.
Lovine said all the changes that have come to her little town of Upsala, and the world, never fazed her much. She just continued to work hard and enjoy her life.
Walter died in 1996, and Lovine moved into Bridgeway Estates in 2005. She moved to the Lutheran Care Center in 2008, where she said she is very content with the care she is receiving.
Lovine still gets back to Upsala on occasion with her friends Bill and Joyce Krivanek, also of Upsala. They have known each other for 35 years, and the Krivaneks make sure she gets to see her church and has a place to be on Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Lovine, who has always lived in the Upsala area, has been a member of the Community Covenant Church of Upsala for 97 years.