Family celebrates local woman’s 106th birthday

Family members came from local towns and across the country to help Frances Stone celebrate her 106th birthday Sunday at Grandview Heights nursing home.

She was born Frances Wilkening on Aug. 18, 1908 and grew up in State Center. She married Fred Stone in 1928 and he died 40 years later. She has lived on and her family was excited to share the special milestone with her Sunday.

“We are just very fortunate that she’s still around and we can still get together and celebrate her birthday,” said Helen Boyce, Stone’s daughter.

Frances and Fred had four children – Helen, Ray, Ruth and Marvin. The couple had 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Frances was known for baking pies and turned her skills in food preparation into a career. She cooked in restaurants and schools in State Center as she raised her children. Marvin said his mom was also known for being very strict with him and his siblings.

“If she told you to do something, you darn well better do it,” Marvin said.

Frances and Fred’s granddaughter, Prudy Nau, of Tacoma, Wash., was in attendance and didn’t miss a chance to celebrate the birthday.

“We just thought it was such a special thing that if we can be here, we’re coming,” Nau said.

Nau was proud to tell her friends in Washington state about the longevity of her grandmother.

“When I tell people I have a grandmother turning 106, they are like, ‘wow,'” Nau said.

One of the keys to Frances’ longevity could be genetics – she had one brother and one sister who each lived to be 100 years old.

The celebration Sunday included a big cake, flowers and the family singing “Happy Birthday” to Frances, who was not very talkative on this day.

Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or