Jessie Korpess never thought she’d live past 90, never mind 100, yet that’s exactly what she’s done.
Korpess, who was born in Prince Albert in 1914, celebrated her 105th birthday over the weekend, with many of her 31 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren in attendance.
“I have no secret,” Korpess chuckled when asked how to live a long life. “God doesn’t want me dead.”
While Korpess remains modest, her family says she’s stressed healthy eating her entire life, and that’s helped her stay healthy. These days she still cooks for herself and utilizes a lot of the ingredients from her childhood and early adulthood.
“She eats things that we used to eat when we were kids, in the days where you couldn’t buy all the vegetables in the stores and such,” says Sally Brule, Korpess’ eldest daughter. “She eats buckwheat and she eats a lot of grains and stuff like that. She always watches her diet. No fast food.”
Saturday’s celebration at Sherman Towers was a laid-back family affair and Korpess wouldn’t have it any other way. She lost her mother when she was only 12 years old, and her only sister, Mary, died of diphtheria as a child. That left Korpess and her father alone on their farm outside of Prince Albert. At that point, having a big family of her own became a major priority.
On Saturday, what made her happiest wasn’t celebrating her 105th birthday. It was having those family members around to celebrate.
“It’s nice,” she said. “I grew up alone and I always thought, ‘when I get married, I’m going to have quite a few children … and I ended up with six. I loved them and enjoyed them. They’re wonderful kids.”