She may not remember everything in detail, but Edna Hauser has witnessed numerous historical events during her lifetime while living in several states.
Hauser was born in Des Moines, Iowa, a few days before the Titanic sank on April 7, 1912. She has seen 18 presidents take office and has lived through The Great Depression and World Wars I and II.
This month marked her 102th birthday.
“I’ve seen and forgotten a lot of historical events,” Hauser said. “I’ve also lost all of my family and old friends. I don’t know how I got to be this old. I guess I’m just tough.”
Hauser is the oldest resident at Willow Creek Assisted Living.
She claims that no one in her family lived to be past 100, and she is surprised to find herself in this situation.
“I mostly just try to relax and take it easy,” Hauser said. “I can’t see very well anymore, and my body is starting to hurt.”
Although Hauser spends most of her time fixing up her living area after taking a walk to the dining room every morning for breakfast, those who know her say she is independent for her age.
“Edna is very mentally sharp and physically stable,” said Brenda Dawley, activity director.
Hauser spent most of her life in Minnesota, where she met her husband, Edward Hauser, at a dance hall in her early 20s.
“When we first met, I thought he was cute and really pleasant,” Hauser said. “He died too young. I still miss him and think about him often.”
Hauser said Edward died in his 60s from emphysema, a form of chronic lung disease.
Kathleen Edwards met Hauser seven years ago through her mother, Dusty Wiegel, who is also a resident at Willow Creek.
“Edna quit going to the doctors because she said she’s ready to see her husband. She misses him,” Edwards said. “Right now, she is just trying to enjoy life as much as possible.”
Years after her husband’s death, Hauser moved to Arizona to be close to her younger sister, Evelyn Bates, who had also lost her spouse.
Keith Racette met Evelyn and Hauser while he was working as a Realtor in Arizona.
When Racette moved to Las Vegas for work, he convinced Bates to move into Willow Creek so they could help take care of the kidney failure she was struggling with at the time.
The two sisters arrived at the center in Las Vegas approximately 11 years ago.
“They both adopted me as their grandson,” Racette said. “They (didn’t always get along), but they followed each other everywhere. Their husbands passed away long ago. They were each other’s only family.”
Bates died at 88 years old about five years ago. Despite losing all of her family and old friends, Hauser still has a large group of supporters who have adopted her as their own family.
“She’s a plain old sweet lady,” Racette said. “Everybody loves her. She never wants to be a burden to anyone. She’s just a pleasant and beautiful lady.”
Hauser admits that the older she gets, the faster time seems to flee.
Regardless of feeling tired and in pain some days, the centenarian continues to keep positive about life. She beams as she recalls happy moments she spent with her family as a young girl riding horses and going on picnics.
“I just try to live in the moment. Some days, I feel good, and some days, I feel bad,” Hauser said. “But now I’m ready to move on. I’ve been ready for a long time.”
Contact North View reporter Sandy Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.