North Dakota's oldest living resident celebrates 111th birthday

Clarabell 'Grandma D' Demers turned 111 on Wednesday. She is the oldest person living in North Dakota.

We are part of The Trust Project.

GRAFTON, N.D. — All day Wednesday, Nov. 3, residents rolled into room 10 at the Lutheran Sunset Home to wish happy birthday to Clarabell Demers, who just turned 111.

"I never thought I'd go this far," she said.

It is believed she is the oldest living resident in North Dakota.

"I don't know how it feels, but I'm there. I got there," Demers said.

Even Gov. Doug Burgum sent a birthday card.


"Not very often people get cards from the president, but I did, anyway," Demers said.

She is known by many as "Grandma D" for a very good reason.

"I have no idea how many I have, but I have quite a few," said Grandma D, referring to the fact she has lost count of how many grandchildren she has. Her family said she has 19 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren.

Demers celebrated the big day in style, putting on her red lipstick for bingo.

After winning a game of bingo, she celebrated with the other residents of the home by eating cake and blowing out the candles.

"I just wished for good health," she said.

The residents also celebrated with one of Clarabell's secrets to a long life: four ounces of red wine each day. The 111-year-old is still known to visit JR's Bar for happy hour.

"Friends, I have a drink once in a while, which doesn't hurt anybody," she said.


When asked what she plans to do to get to 112, Grandma D's family said they got the same response they have gotten birthday after birthday after birthday.

"I don't think I'll get there, but I don't know. If I keep healthy, it's OK," she said.

What to read next
For the fifth year, Agweek reporter Mikkel Pates reprises his Flags On Farms feature for Independence Day, featuring flags of the United States on farms and agribusinesses in the region. This year, our featured vignette is from a former grain elevator at Andover, South Dakota, with a 30-by-60 foot U.S. flag painted on it.