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Local woman celebrates 100th birthday

Catherine Zeier spent much of her birthday reading cards from friends, family and church members. At last count, she'd received more than 75 cards wishing her a happy 100th birthday.

For the superstitious, last Wednesday was an interesting day. Dubbed "12-12-12," the dawning of Dec. 12, 2012 meant folks were scrambling to get married, celebrate 'Aaron Rodgers Day" or any number of things.

For Catherine Zeier of rural New Richmond, the day was special for a different reason. It was her 100th birthday.

For most of 12-12-12, Zeier sat quietly in her favorite chair. The lamp nearby provided ample light as she opened one birthday card after another. At last count, Zeier enjoyed reading more than 75 cards from family, friends and church members.

Her nephew, Richard Zeier, placed a notice in the Immaculate Conception Church newsletter recently encouraging parishioners to send along their greetings. He also sent letters to relatives encouraging them to do the same. It apparently worked.

Apart from the cards, Zeier's birthday served as a day to remember the long life she's enjoyed. Zeier was a school teacher in Illinois for 41 years.

When her nephew, who was also her adopted son since the age of 3, moved to the New Richmond area for his job, Zeier came along. She took on a few extra jobs to supplement her Social Security income. She was housekeeper at Holy Family Hospital for 11 years, before retiring in 1977. She also was housekeeper at the Doboy White House for several years.

Zeier also did a bit of substitute teaching at St. Mary's School in New Richmond for a time.

Even in retirement, Zeier has stayed active. Up until she was 98, Zeier could be found in her garden tending flowers and plants.

"Even when she was 97, when she broke her leg, she was out in the garden in her wheelchair," Richard recalled.

When asked about her secret to longevity, Zeier was quick with a response.

"I enjoy life," she said. "I live with the Lord each day, and He keeps me going."

She noted that she prays the Rosary every day, using a strand of Rosary beads that were blessed by Pope Pius XII back in the 1950s.

Richard Zeier said her love of the outdoors, and her ability to stay active for many years, has also played a role in her long life.

Up until a few years ago, Catherine Zeier was still raking and mowing the lawn.

For the day's festivities, Richard Zeier put out cookies and cupcakes for his aunt. On three of the cupcakes he placed wax numbers "100."