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Woman’s 100th birthday celebrated behind glass due to COVID-19

100th birthday behind glass

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Barbara Satterthwaite, a resident of Trinity Homes, turned 100 years old Thursday. Due to the risk of COVID-19 her family celebrated her birthday from behind large windows.

Barbara Satterthwaite turned 100 years old Thursday. There were the usual birthday cards, balloons and cupcakes and family, but there was one big difference. Distance.

Due to concerns of contacting coronavirus the Trinity Homes resident was separated from her family by glass. Satterthwaite was seated in her wheelchair in an enclosed entryway while her family was behind glass, a few feet away in an adjoining room. It was a stark reminder of the way COVID-19 has affected many lives, particularly the elderly.

“We thought we might be able to go in and see her and it turned out we can’t,” said Laurel Hyatt, granddaughter. “So we are making the best of it. We have posters and cards, making sure she knows we love her.”

“She’s always been mom,” remarked son Gary Satterthwaite, New Town. “This is hard on her. We don’t know how much of it she understands.”

It was part of the emotional strain of social distancing brought on by a pandemic and exercising caution against an unseen virus. Barbara Satterthwaite’s family was there, wanting to be close to her but not wanting to risk infecting her with coronavirus.

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Those present for Barbara Satterthwaite’s 100th birthday included, left to right, granddaughters Renee Duffner and Johanna Schofield, daughter-in-law Sue Satterthwaite, son Gary Satterthwaite and great-grandson Michael Duffner.

“We can’t touch her. That’s the hardest part,” said Hyatt. “She’s going to want to reach out to us and want hugs.”

Barbara Satterthwaite was married in Chicago in 1943, but by 1950 found herself in North Dakota, a place she wasn’t very fond of living, at least initially. She left for a while and then returned for good in the mid-1950’s.

“She lived out in the New Town area on a ranch that was established in 1906 by her father-in-law,” said Gary Satterthwaite. “She stayed there until 1990 when she moved to Minot.”

What is the secret of Barbara Satterthwaite’s longevity? Gary Satterthwaite offered his assessment.

“She has a relationship with the living God,” said Gary Satterthwaite. “She’s gone a hundred years now. As far as I know from studying history, no one has lived much beyond 100.”

Among the phone calls received by Gary Satterthwaite on his mom’s special day was one from a cousin living near Stanley who had just recovered from a bout with coronavirus and wanted to make sure his birthday wishes were received.

Happy birthday Barbara Satterthwaite.

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