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113-year-old ‘Centenarian of the Year’ passes away

Posted: Saturday, Nov 10th, 2012

Beryl Kapaun

SALEM — South Dakota Health Care Association (SDHCA) announced that Beryl Kapaun of Salem, who was recently named the “2012 Centenarian of the Year,” passed away yesterday. Kapaun celebrated her 113th birthday in June. This recognition was a four-peat for Kapaun, as she has remained the oldest living South Dakotan for the past four years.

According to Century Club records, Kapaun was a resident at the Golden Living Center in Salem and was born June 4, 1899.

She lived on her own in an apartment until she was 104 years old. As a child, her family moved around the country frequently, as her mother had bronchial conditions that required moving to warmer climates during the harsh South Dakota winters. She graduated from Brookings High School and took business courses at Brookings State College and Sioux Falls Business College.  She worked in offices around the area and in Colorado as a stenographer for a large fruit-growing company. She later returned to the family farm near Montrose to care for her parents, where she stayed until the 1990s when she moved into Montrose. 

Kapaun credited her longevity to genes in the family, her clean living and never overeating at meals. She commented, however, that she was surprised that she lived as long as she did because there were two times that stand out in her mind that she was given up for dead! 

Once she had pleural pneumonia and fell into a deep sleep and her family thought she had died. The other time was when she had something she called Slow Fever. She was sick for so long that the doctor gave up on going out to see her.

Although Kapaun never married, she had many nieces and nephews. Administrator Joan Raap, at the Golden Living Center in Salem, commented, “Beryl took great pride in her accomplishment of being the oldest living South Dakotan. She had a great sense of humor, loved music and on her 113th birthday, she and her family sang many of her favorites on our front porch.” 

The Century Club is a creation of the South Dakota Health Care Association and has recognized more than 1,000 South Dakotans since its beginning in 1997. Century Club sponsors created the club to recognize both the contributions and the years of these special individuals. 

The Century Club is open to residents of South Dakota upon the celebration of his or her 100th birthday. There are no dues and every inductee receives a specially designed certificate and membership card. Once a year, the current oldest living Century Club member is recognized as the “Centenarian of the Year.” 

You may submit names for the Century Club by visiting sdhca.org and downloading a Century Club application or call LuAnn Severson, Century Club coordinator, at 1-800-952-3052.  

For the complete article see the 11-09-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-09-2012 paper.

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