New Richmond woman dies after 110 years of a quality lifeOne of Wisconsin’s oldest living residents died Sunday, March 4. Marion Davidson turned 110 years old on Feb. 2. She was most recently a resident at the Our House assisted living complex.
One of Wisconsin’s oldest living residents died Sunday, March 4.
Marion Davidson turned 110 years old on Feb. 2. She was most recently a resident at the Our House assisted living complex.
According to her daughter, Jackie Eshleman, Davidson remained fairly independent most of her life.
“Just since this October she started to develop some dementia,” Eshleman said. “Still, she had her good days and her bad days. And she kept her sense of humor all along. She was such a stitch.”
In an interview with the New Richmond News when she turned 107, Davidson said her typical day started with doing limbering exercises before getting out of bed.
Davidson received Meals on Wheels twice a week, so she heated up her own food and watched movies for much of the day. Davidson said she used to love to read and do counted cross-stitch, but her vision did not allow her to do that in her later years.
Davidson was born and raised near Hinkley, Minn. Her father worked for Northern Pacific, working on the railroad run from St. Paul to Duluth for many years.
“I remember seeing my first automobile when I was about 8 to 9 years old,” Davidson recalled. “A young man came to the hotel across the street. Naturally all the kids in town came out to look at it. He took us for rides in it and we had to dust it off afterward as ‘payment’ since the roads were all gravel.”
She proudly stated that she never had any contagious diseases while growing up, a fact she humorously credits to her eating habits back then.
“My dad had a loose garden, without all the chemicals they have now,” she explained. “My mom would holler at me ‘Marion, stop eating that dirt!’ I’d jump up and run over somewhere else and eat some more – I guess it must have tasted good.”
Although alcohol never played a big role in her life, she had been a smoker when she was younger. She said she was able to control it, never needing to take a puff in the mornings and never smoking during work.
Still it took her 10 years to finally quit the habit.
She graduated from Forest Lake High School as the salutatorian in her class of seven. Davidson was named to the Forest Lake High School Hall of Fame last year for being the longest living graduate of the school, Eshleman said.
Davidson met her late husband in Forest Lake and married when she was 19 years old. She said she willingly settled into her new role.
“I loved being a housewife,” Davidson said. “I never had any ambition to be a doctor or a teacher. I just loved all of it – loved to cook, mend clothes, clean the house – just loved it.”
Davidson had two daughters when she was in her 20s: Joyce and Jackie (Eshleman).
The eldest, Joyce, passed away in December 2005. Eshleman has been living in New Richmond for the past 15 years.
As her husband’s construction job was seasonal, Davidson went to beauty school and worked as a beautician in various shops once her children were in school. Eventually she switched to office work.
Davidson was the proud matriarch of eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
Davidson’s mother lived to be 100, and her brothers and sisters lived into their 80s and 90s as well, so good genes played a role in her longevity.
Other than that, she said she didn’t know what led to her long life.
“I never did anything special,” she said in the previous interview. “Didn’t worry about dieting, I just ate what I wanted and did what I wanted.”
Eshleman said the entire family was surprised by how long her mother lived.
“She really didn’t want to live this long,” Eshleman said. “But I guess the Lord had different plans for her.”
Davidson’s remains were cremated. A funeral service is planned on April 21 at Solid Rock Fellowship, 240 Wisconsin Drive, in New Richmond.