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Ellendale lady celebrates 95th birthday

STILL GOING — Gen Wayne of Ellendale is still going strong at age 95, evidenced by the bounty of birthday presents received Sunday, April 2. (Star Eagle photo by Kathy Paulsen)

Staff Writer

Genevieve “Gen” Wayne turned 95 on Sunday, April 2, and a large number of her family and friends turned out to wish her another year filled with God’s blessings.

Genevieve Paulson, daughter of Manford and Alice Paulson, was born on the family farm, which was located north of Ellendale, in 1922. Dr. Ertel, the local doctor at the time who is well remembered by many people in the Ellendale area, delivered Genevieve.

Gen loved their farm and she and her dad spent a great deal of time together doing this, that and whatever. She especially remembers helping her dad with the milking of their Holstein cows, herding the cattle on horseback, helping to cultivate the corn, as well as baling hay.

Gen was selected as Homecoming Queen in the fall of 1939, and went on to graduate from Ellendale High School in 1940. She later married Howard Koppen in 1945, and they moved on to a farm adjoining her parents' land following their wedding.

She and Howard had two children, Marilyn and Donald, and were blessed with three grandchildren, Jennifer, Jeff and Christopher, as well as six great-grandchildren, Ben, Grace, Alex, Annie, Michelle and Marissa.

Gen’s husband, Howard, died on Gen’s birthday in 1970, just before their 25th wedding anniversary.

She married John Wayne in the fall of 1972. They were married for 35 years before John passed away in 2008. Gen only had one sister, Doris (Hermanson) and she too is no longer with us.

In addition to losing Howard, John, and Doris, the house that Gen was living in back in 2012 sustained both fire and severe smoke damage one week before her 90th birthday.

Following the damage to her home, Gen moved into an apartment in Owatonna for about three years. She was able to move “back home” to Ellendale, about a year ago and now lives at Whispering Oak and enjoys being with the people there.

Gen’s daughter, Marilyn, graduated from Ellendale in 1963, and went on to marry Fred Kycek in 1964 and they were blessed with two children, Jennifer and Jeff.

Jennifer and her husband, Matt Minder, are the proud parents of three children, Ben, Grace and Alex; and Jeff is the father of one child, Annie.

Donny graduated from Ellendale in 1968 and was the father of one boy, Christopher. 

Christopher and Cassie are the parents of two children, Michelle and Marissa.

Marilyn past away 11 1⁄2 years ago, and Donny died two years ago, but Gen keeps going. She continues to thank her good Lord up above for the time she was able to spend with each of them.

Gen has always made it a point to attend many of the celebrations held in the Ellendale area and appreciated the opportunity to visit with so many people. She also took part in any number of church events and musical presentations over the years, and is now enjoying her days at Whispering Oak.

In addition to living on the family farm and raising two children, Gen worked as a clerk at Security State Bank in Ellendale for 35 years before she retired.

Both of her children’s families continue to come and visit Gen, and she was especially happy that many of them could come and help her celebrate her birthday this year.

On Sunday, March 26, Gen, wore a beautiful black jacket with sequins, along with black slacks, and greeted her relatives as they arrived at Whispering Oak.

The family enjoyed a catered dinner from Superior Foods in the upper gathering room at “The Oaks.” Later that afternoon a large number of friends stopped to wish Gen a very special day and were able to enjoy an assortment of cookies and bars as they visited with Gen.

Gen was given a beautiful corsage for her birthday, as well as received a large number of well wishes. She was also given a beautiful hand-painted picture from her nephew, Lyle, and Darlyne Paulson. The picture that Darlyne painted was of flowers pouring out of a wood crate.

She also received a prayer shawl, as well as several potted flowers. Two of the flowers were tulips, while the other two were kalanchoes. She also received a box of Abadallah chocolates.

It was obvious that Gen’s family knew how much she enjoys flowers and chocolate.

Gen felt that the flowers she was given would do well in her upstairs apartment at “The Oaks” as she has a nice big window to the east, which allows sunshine on them in the morning.

All in all, Gen had a great birthday and is very glad that God is her companion.

We are glad that Gen was able to enjoy a special birthday this year and we wish her many more.

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