Ruth Reder, center, celebrated her 103rd birthday with her daughter, Maxene Kotin, her son-in-law, Merritt Kotin and her son, Myron Holman. 103 Years and Counting Photo By Mary Mumbrue

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In 1906, the Wright Brothers were granted a U.S. patent for their “Flying Machine” and President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to negotiate peace in the Russo-Japanese War.

 Another event of that historic year was the birth of Ruth Reder.

On July 8 family and friends gathered at the Mather Pavilion to celebrate her 103 birthday in style.

Mrs. Reder attributes her long life to her work ethic. Born on a farm in Toluca, Ill., Ruth and her family eventually moved to northern Wisconsin, where her family was given a land grant in an early farming settlement in the town of Arpin.

 Mrs. Reder remembers having a lot of chores before she went off to school – feeding the cows and chickens and helping her mother with the kitchen work.

She eventually earned a teaching certificate, after putting herself through school by taking care of children to pay for her room and board. Her next adventure was teaching in a one-room school house. Ruth says that she “loved teaching any-age child.”

While most others were retiring, Mrs. Reder decided on a career change; she worked in a bank until she was 84 years old.

This writer discussed past and current events with Mrs. Reder, listened to her talk about her patriotism and observed her loving interactions with her children, Maxene Kotin, son-in-law Merritt Kotin and son Myron Holman. Mrs. Reder’s other two daughters are Margie Deskin of Maryland and Helen, now deceased.

As one of Mrs. Reder’s grandchildren, Betsy, wrote. “… You’ve modeled honesty, loyalty, how to be a friend, and how to reach out to keep in touch.  Your hard work and dedication in whatever the task may be is inspiring. … I’ve learned from you that hard work is just part of life and you must do the best you can. You do it with grace and dignity.”

Mrs. Reder’s daughter Maxene said her mother has enriched the lives of others … “as she has given of herself to so many people.”