In her 105 years, Martha Westlund witnessed history, and some amazing sunsets

SAGINAW, Minn. — When Tim Westlund recalls his late mother’s lifetime, he does not focus on the inescapable hardships she endured, this kind of as the reduction of liked types or life through the Terrific Melancholy. He doesn’t bear in mind matters like arguments or slamming doorways.

Rather, he speaks of time used on the deck at their family property on Grand Lake, and late nights ingesting ice product. He speaks of her beloved animals and aggressive nature all over game exhibits.

Tim doesn’t believe of the damaging aspects of existence when talking about his mom, because negativity was not some thing she brought to the desk. Alternatively, Martha Westlund put in 105 a long time ingraining positivity into the life of people all-around her.

“She was normally beneficial,” Tim said. “I feel that’s why she lived so long.”

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Martha died peacefully of pure leads to at her Grand Lake household March 6, 2021.

She was born Oct. 5, 1915, in Duluth to August and Agusta Wickstrom, and spent most of her existence at her household on Grand Lake with her husband, Joy Westlund, and four children: Diane, Gary, Terry and Tim.

Ahead of marrying, Martha labored alongside her sister, Eleanor, on her family’s farm and attended faculty in Proctor.

Martha witnessed historic situations such as the Minnesota fires of 1918 and the very first particular person to walk on the moon, in 1969. She seasoned the firsthand outcomes of the women’s suffrage motion and the Wonderful Depression. She viewed the entire world change around her as technologies highly developed and populations grew.

“Things experienced altered a entire large amount from back again then to now,” Tim stated. “She in no way seriously did understand why we textual content so significantly.”


Martha was thrilled when she set up her initial e-mail account, and was able to talk with her daughter, Diane Tiseth, who had moved to Florida, but Tim stated she always most well-liked to converse on the mobile phone or in particular person.

“Talking to Mother was diverse than talking to other folks,” Martha’s son Terry Westlund recalled. “Her expertise of now and yrs previous was far outside of mine.”

Martha’s kids claimed they would frequently get in touch with upon her expansive awareness to guidebook them in their latest life, even as grownups.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit very last year, Martha refused to shutter her residence to her children. Acquiring lived through the influenza pandemic in 1918, she not only introduced awareness, but also hope for brighter times in advance.

“She would give me power, just likely over there, simply because she had this sort of a good outlook,” Tim mentioned.

Martha was the oldest individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at Neighborhood Memorial Hospital in Cloquet.

Martha Westlund with her beloved pets Pepper and Tibby. (Photo courtesy of Tim Westlund)

Martha Westlund with her beloved animals Pepper and Tibby. (Picture courtesy of Tim Westlund)

Martha’s spouse preceded her in death, but her family members, good friends and animals generally held her organization on the lake.

Pleasure experienced procured the Grand Lake household for $10,000 in the early 1940s, and the couple lifted their household beside the h2o, developing what is now regarded as “Westlund Road.”

They flourished beside the lake, with Joy doing work in design and Martha busying herself with rental cabins.

Nevertheless, no make a difference how chaotic they acquired, the two often took time to appreciate scaled-down factors in life.

“There was not a sunset that ever occurred at Grand Lake that Mom and Father weren’t possibly out on the pontoon boat or on the deck just sitting alongside one another, waiting around for the sunset,” Terry claimed.

He shared that toward the stop of the sunset, Martha and Joy would normally race to the prime story of the property to capture the previous glimpse of sunrays just before they disappeared into the h2o.

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