107 YEARS YOUNG: Evelyn Kleine celebrates birthday - KMSP-TV

107 YEARS YOUNG: Evelyn Kleine celebrates birthday

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Teddy Roosevelt was president when she was born, but on Friday, a woman from Columbia Heights will celebrate a special birthday that has her reflecting on all of the history she has seen with her own eyes.

Evelyn Kleine drove until she was 99 years old and lived in her own apartment until she was 104. Both are feats few Minnesotans have managed, but she's still going strong. In fact, she was queen for a day on Thursday as the folks at the St. Anthony Healthcare Center put together a celebration for residents whose birthdays will fall this month -- including Kleine's 107th.

"Just snuck up on me. I don't know," Kleine quipped.

Kleine was born in 1907. Her father taught her to drive in a Model T Ford after they moved to Columbia Heights -- or as she called it, "wild country."

"Cinder paths instead of sidewalks," she remembered.

As a teenager, she discovered a career that seemed tailor-made for her. She became a seamstress, and by the 1930s, she had married the first of two husbands, both of whom she outlived.

Over the years, she has had a front-row seat to what is many Minnesotans can only find in history books -- including many advances modern folk tend to take for granted. Airplanes, televisions, and computers are just a small sampling of the new technologies she's seen debuted -- but don't expect to find Kleine posting about her life on Facebook or Twitter.

"I don't have any bad memories," she assured. "I've had a wonderful life."

When asked what her secret is to a long and happy living, Kleine told Fox 9 News to "eat and be merry and stay on the straight and narrow."

It does appear that longevity runs in Kleine's family. Her father was 94 when he died, and her grandfather lived to 96. Yet, Kleine is still 6 years younger than Minnesota's oldest resident, 113-year-old Anna Stoehr, of Potsdam.

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