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Lander native celebrates 101st birthday with family, friends

Lander native celebrates 101st birthday with family, friends

Feb 11, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Minnie Presgrove celebrated her 101st birthday on Jan. 29 at the Morning Star Manor assisted living facility in Fort Washakie.

Presgrove, the oldest resident at Morning Star, was surrounded by her daughter-in-law Georgia Presgrove, grandson Tom Presgrove, his wife, Suzie Presgrove, and their son Alex Presgrove.

The celebration included party hats, cakes, ice cream, gifts and a birthday song sung by the facility's residents. Activity aide Jacquie West described Minnie as a "delightful and amazing woman."

"We are just privileged to have her here," West said.

Minnie was born Minnie Gilland and raised on a dairy farm in Lander. She attended Fremont County Vocational High School in Lander.

Eventually she married Alfred Presgrove and had a son named Lou. While Alfred ranched in Crowheart, Minnie rode a horse to teach a small class of pupils in a school also in Crowheart.

Georgia told a story of an emergency that called for someone to drive miles outside of Crowheart. With the help of family members, Minnie agreed to start the car manually and drive it despite not having any prior driving experience.

"She tells me that story all the time," Georgia said. "She really likes telling it."

They had to get under that hood and get that car going as soon as possible, she said.

Minnie later taught in Pavillion for 11 years, and then taught in Riverton at the old Lincoln Elementary and Jackson schools for 35 years.

She received bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in education from the University of Wyoming.

Georgia said Minnie was a dedicated student who attended school all year-round and had few birthday party celebrations as the years passed.

Suzie said that at one point, Minnie volunteered at an assisted living facility in Arizona where she was older than most residents there.

"She's not on any medication for anything," Suzie said, adding that Minnie has maintained good health.

Activity aide Betty Vonfeldt confirmed she is the oldest resident at the facility.

Ernie McGill's birthday also was celebrated that day. He turned 71 years old.

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