By Chad Koenen
With the fire trucks blowing their horns, and a line of cars stretching the length of the city limits, the city of Deer Creek came together on Saturday for the party of the century—or better yet, to honor a man who was hitting triple digits.
Helmer Grewe, who has lived in rural Deer Creek for most of his life, celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday with friends and family members at the Deer Creek Community Center. Due to restrictions over gatherings in light of COVID-19, a large parade of community members and the Deer Creek Fire Department was organized to help Grewe celebrate his milestone birthday.
Prior to his party the longtime rural Deer Creek resident said he feels good, other than some arthritis, and still lives on his own today. In fact, he still has flowers, mows his own lawn and cooks most of his own meals.
“I feel good,” he said, “I made it this far, I suppose I may as well keep going.”
Grewe was born south of Verndale on March 20, 1921 and moved to Deer Creek to farm in 1951. He sold his farm in 1978 and moved to another home in rural Deer Creek along Highway 29, but even in retirement he stayed busy by driving tractor for local farmers and holding down several other jobs.
Never one to be inactive, Grewe was a staple at cards in Deer Creek, was a charter member of the Deer Creek Lions Club and he goes to church at Trinity Lutheran Church in Deer Creek just about every Sunday. Prior to COVID-19, Grewe was a staple at the Wadena-Deer Creek volleyball games and for 12 years he never missed a home game. He was even named as the fan of the year one time by the WDC program.
“I got along with everyone. You need to get along with everyone,” he said.
When he wasn’t working or going to volleyball games, Grewe was active with the Deer Creek Township Board as he served as treasurer from 1975-2010 and was also a member of the Deer Creek School Board. At church he held just about every position within the congregation at one time or another.
“I was always doing something,” he said, “I like to move around.”
Grewe and his late wife Dorothy had four children, 10 grand children and a number of great grandchildren. Almost all of his family members were able to make it back for his party on Saturday, which Grewe said made turning 100 all-the-more special.
“I never dreamed I would make it to 100,” he said with a smile. “I’ve lived a good life.”
Though he never thought he would make it to 100 years of age, Grewe had some good genes on his side. His dad lived to be 88 and his mom was four months shy of hitting 100 years of age herself.
Grewe often joked that he wanted to outlive his mother and make it to the century mark—consider it mission accomplished.