Alice Frank is going to be 105 this coming Saturday (July 7) making her one of the oldest people in Redwood Falls.
From a reclining chair in a common area of Wood Dale Nursing Home, Frank, with some assistance from her son, Ernest Teeri, talked about her life.
It all started July 7, 1913…
Alice Frank was born on the family farm five miles north of Redwood Falls in Beaver Falls Township, Renville County to Edmund and Frieda Davis. She was the seventh of eight children in the Davis family and enjoyed life on the farm.
“I hunted the eggs,” recalled Frank about life on the farm.
Teeri added his grandparent’s farm was a typically diverse family operation with crops and livestock. His grandmother would take the eggs into town and trade them for the things the family needed.
A one-room schoolhouse provided Frank’s education, as she continued to learn behind a desk through the eighth grade.
The school was a one-and-a-half mile walk from home, and Frank said she liked school.
However, she got the rest of her education on the farm working alongside her parents and siblings.
“As one of eight children she did what she could working in the garden and doing field work,” said Teeri.
It was during a visit to North Redwood when Frank’s life changed. There at the local machine shop she met O.P. Teeri who would become her husband. Their son, Ernest, surmised that his mother likely went into North Redwood with her father who needed something fixed.
The two were married at the Methodist Church parsonage in Redwood Falls in 1930.
“She was 17 when she got married,” said Ernest, who was born in 1931.
A daughter, Phyllis, was born in 1937.
In the early 1930s finding work was a challenge, and so the Teeri family traveled to Austin where the family patriarch got a job at Hormel. The family stayed there until 1942.
“Dad was close to getting drafted, and so he felt it was better for his wife and children to be near her folks,” said Ernest, adding his dad was drafted into the Army in 1943.
During her husband’s time in the Army, Alice did spend some time working at Hanson’s Drug Store at the soda fountain, but Ernest said the majority of her life was spent as a homemaker.
When his father’s stint in the military was over, the family returned to Austin. Although Ernest stayed behind.
“I wanted to stay and graduate from Redwood Falls,” said Ernest, who is a member of the Redwood Falls High School Class of 1949.
In the early 1950s, O.P. Teeri was disabled and had to stop working. So, the family returned to the Redwood area. The patriarch of the family passed away in 1967. A good pension from Hormel meant Alice would be set up for the rest of her life.
Alice Frank remained in Redwood Falls and lived on her own until November 2013 when she moved into the local care facility.
“She lived in an apartment in town,” said Ernest, adding she was a few months over 100 when she made the move. “She did not want to come, but we felt it was the right thing for her.”
A birthday party is being held this coming Saturday at Wood Dale for Frank, and many of her family members will help her celebrate.
In addition to her children, Frank has two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She also has a number of nephews and nieces. For Frank, family was extremely important. Frank has called Redwood Falls home for about 75 years of her life.
Ernest said she was a good cook. She loves white cake with white frosting.
What is Frank’s secret?
She is not sure, but Ernest, who said his grandmother lived to be 101, believes it was about living life in moderation.
“She never did anything in excess,” he said.
Frank always told her children a good day of hard work would never hurt them, and she demonstrated that to them as they grew up.
With a smile on her face, Alice Frank agreed she was looking forward to being with her family this weekend as they help her celebrate birthday number 105.