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Salem woman, oldest resident in SD, dies at 113

South Dakota's oldest resident has died.

Beryl Kapaun, 113, of Salem, died Wednesday. She was a resident of the Golden Living Center.

According to Century Club records maintained by the South Dakota Health Care Association, Kapaun spent four years as the state's oldest resident.

She was born June 4, 1899.

She lived on her own in an apartment until she was 104. As a child, her family moved around the country frequently, because her mother had bronchial conditions that required moving to warmer climates during the harsh South Dakota winters.

She graduated from Brookings High School and took business courses at Brookings State College and Sioux Falls Business College. She worked in offices around the area and in Colorado as a stenographer for a large fruit-growing company. She later returned to the family farm near Montrose to care for her parents, where she stayed until the 1990s when she then moved into Montrose.

She credited her longevity to genes in the family, her clean living and never overeating at meals. She commented, however, that she was surprised she lived as long as she did because there were two times that stand out in her mind that she was given up for dead. Once she had pleural pneumonia and fell into a deep sleep and her family thought she had died. The other time was when she had something she called "slow fever." She was sick for so long that the doctor gave up on going out to see her.

"Beryl took great pride in her accomplishment of being the oldest living South Dakotan," said Golden Living Center Salem Administrator Joan Raap. "She had a great sense of humor and loved music."

The Century Club is a creation of the South Dakota Health Care Association and has recognized about 1,000 South Dakotans since its beginning in 1997. Century Club sponsors created the club to recognize both the contributions and the years of these special individuals.

The Century Club is open to residents of South Dakota upon the celebration of their 100th birthday. There are no dues and every inductee receives a specially designed certificate and membership card signed by sponsors. Once a year, the current oldest living Century Club Member is recognized as the "Centenarian of the Year."

According to Century Club records, Dagmar "Dolly" Keehn, of Riverview Rehabilitation & Health Care Center in Flandreau, is now the oldest living South Dakotan. Dolly was born in March 1905, making her 107 years old.