2017-07-13 / Life in Leelanau

Happy birthday, Bea!

Advice from 105-year-old: If you can’t change it, let it go
By Hannah Lentz
Enterprise intern


BEA KIMMERLY, right, celebrates her 105th birthday with daughter Karol Berwald Saturday at the Omena Fire Hall. BEA KIMMERLY, right, celebrates her 105th birthday with daughter Karol Berwald Saturday at the Omena Fire Hall. Things have changed quite a bit in the last 105 years.

Bea Kimmerly, who celebrated her 105th birthday over the weekend, can attest.

On Saturday, more than 80 of Kimmerly’s friends and family gathered at the Omena Fire Hall to celebrate the occasion.

Kimmerly has lived in Leelanau County since 1948 and is the only living founding member of Omena Club 21. She and her husband, Myles, who passed in 1972, bought the Anderson’s General Store in the late 1940s and operated it until 1958 when he became probate judge.

Kimmerly also served as treasurer for Omena Club 21 from 1972 until just a few years ago and is still involved with club service projects and events throughout the year.

Myles Kimmerly County Park was named in honor of Kimmerly’s husband. The park is located on both sides of County Road 616 in Kasson Township and includes the 4-H Park, room for team sports and space for tennis and disc golf. Development of this park was made possible by the Cedar Lions Club in 1974 after Myles Kimmerly’s passing in 1972.

Ruth Steele Walker of Omena attended the party Saturday. She has known Kimmerly for what feels like her whole life, she said.

“Bea was a friend of my mother’s,” Steele Walker said. “She’s bright, funny and a wealth of information.”

Steele Walker said she never stops being amazed by Kimmerly and all she does.

“She’s still active and involved,” Steele Walker said. “I love having her as a part of my life.”

Kimmerly now lives part time with her daughter, Karol Berwald, in Layton, Utah. The two spend most of their time traveling to visit family or playing cards.

“Euchre and canasta are her favorite,” Berwald said.

Kimmerly still flies by herself on occasion and only just recently gave up driving, Berwald said.

“She’s still going strong at 105,” Berwald said.

So, what’s the key to living a long and healthy life?

“Keep breathing,” Kimmerly joked. “No, but if you can’t change something, let it go.”

Berwald said the most important lesson she has learned from her mother is not to stress about situations if there is nothing to do about it.

Kimmerly also said she did not drink much.

“Except that one time in Italy,” Berwald joked.

For now, Berwald and Kimmerly are going to keep playing cards and seeing where life takes them.

“I’m doing fine,” Kimmerly said. “I’m feeling good.”

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