Local woman maintains athletic lifestyle at age 100

Matt Gardner
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Celebrating her 100th birthday surrounded by friends and family, Rubena Wenzel described herself as “slightly overwhelmed” by the occasion.

Yet when asked how she felt about reaching such a significant milestone, the newly minted centenarian took it all in stride.

“That’s a hard question,” she said. “I don’t feel any different than I did before.

“It’s just a number,” she added. “But you live day to day anyway.”

Almost 100 well-wishers showed up on Friday at the Heritage Seniors Centre to help Wenzel celebrate her birthday with tea and cake, including family members from Edmonton, Vancouver, Oklahoma City and Denver.

Despite her advanced years, Wenzel -- now the oldest living graduate of the Prince Albert Collegiate Institute (PACI) -- continues to maintain an athletic lifestyle.

A regular at the Fairview Fairways Senior Golf Club, her love for the game recently landed her on the cover of Golf Oklahoma magazine.

“I’ve always been very much into sports,” she noted.

Born in Prince Albert, Wenzel -- née McCloy -- lived on a farm in the Colleston district until she finished elementary school, at which point she began attending classes at PACI.

During her high school years, she made a name for herself as a promising young athlete as a member of the school’s basketball, softball and track and field teams.

Graduating in 1933, she worked as a legal aide before marrying RCMP officer Ernie Wenzel in 1937, with the couple eventually having four children together.

Moving from detachment to detachment -- a period during which Wenzel frequently wrote articles for the Prince Albert Daily Herald -- upon Ernie’s retirement in 1954 the couple opened an insurance adjusting office in P.A.

I’ve always been very much into sports. Rubena Wenzel

“I had to study and pass my insurance exams to do it,” Wenzel said.

After more than two decades with the business, she retired in 1975.

Until Ernie’s death in 1987, the couple travelled to Texas every winter and golfed in the summer, spending plenty of time at their cabin in Emma Lake.

Subsequent years saw Wenzel continue to fill her time with golf as well as bridge.

When it comes to her skills out on the links, Wenzel remains a formidable player.

“At her 90th birthday 10 years ago, we had a big family reunion as well and she outplayed the 50-year-olds,” granddaughter Dani Dickinson said.

Along with her five grandchildren, Wenzel also has three great-grandchildren.

Though currently living across from her old alma mater of PACI, she will soon be moving off to live with two of her daughters in Oklahoma City.

Asked about her key to longevity, Wenzel pointed to a healthy lifestyle and a positive outlook.

“People that get negative soon get sick,” she said. “That’s what I think anyway … Even the worst situations, something good always comes out of it.”

See also:

"Mary" promotes Prince Albert's senior shuttle program

Golf is a game for all ages

Organizations: Prince Albert Collegiate Institute, Prince Albert, Heritage Seniors Centre Fairview Fairways Senior Golf Club Golf Oklahoma magazine RCMP

Geographic location: Oklahoma City, Edmonton, Vancouver Denver Texas Emma Lake

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