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South Dakota's oldest resident, of Scotland, dies at 107

SCOTLAND--O'Tillia "Tillie" Knodel, South Dakota's oldest resident, died Friday, and funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon. She was 107. Knodel's funeral services were held at the United Church of Christ in Scotland, and she was buried b...

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SCOTLAND-O'Tillia "Tillie" Knodel, South Dakota's oldest resident, died Friday, and funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon. She was 107.

Knodel's funeral services were held at the United Church of Christ in Scotland, and she was buried beside her late husband, Edwin, in the Menno Cemetery.

Knodel, of Scotland, was born April 1, 1908, in Midland, and died three weeks shy of her 108th birthday.

According to Century Club records maintained by the South Dakota Health Care Association, Knodel was the state's oldest resident for less than a year.

Knodel's obituary says she left school at age 13 and started working for her uncle, caring for three young children, doing housework and working in the fields for 10 years.

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In 1931, she met and married Edwin, who shared the same birthday. The couple were married Sept. 11, 1931. In 1936, they welcomed their daughter, Delaine.

Knodel's family worked through the Great Depression, often having to move from state to state to find available work. Jobs Knodel held included working in potato fields, tending crops and providing seamstress services. When asked where her favorite place to live had been, Knodel said it was anywhere she and Edwin were together.

Knodel had a strong faith in God and love for her husband, who died in 1974 after 43 years of marriage, her obituary says.

Throughout her life, Knodel enjoyed cooking German foods, crocheting, writing, drawing and crafting. She was known by her family for the valentines she handmade each year-a heart with a message and hand-drawn pictures. Every letter ended the same: "God loves you and so do I."

Knodel was preceded in death by her husband, her infant son, Lynn, her parents and siblings, her son-in-law, Ray Geuther and many nieces, nephews and extended family.

According to Century Club records, Bertha Mohr, of Eureka, is now the oldest living South Dakotan. Mohr was born on Dec. 27, 1908, and is 107.

Mitchell's three oldest residents are all residents at Firesteel Healthcare Center. They are: Albertine "Tina" Anderst, 103; Lorraine Wise, 103; and Eleanora "Norie" Pierson, 100.

LuAnn Severson, director of public affairs and professional development for the South Dakota Health Care Association, said the Century Club only has records of people who volunteer to be part of the program. She said it's possible that there are older people in the state that the Century Club does not know about.

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