“I just keep busy,” Edythe Wendt said, when asked her secret to a long life. And if staying occupied is the secret to longevity, it’s no surprise Wendt is celebrating 100 years.


“I just keep busy,” Edythe Wendt said, when asked her secret to a long life. And if staying occupied is the secret to longevity, it’s no surprise Wendt is celebrating 100 years.
Her 100th birthday was Oct. 6, but the years behind her haven’t slowed her down. Wendt still volunteers at her church, at the Red Cross Blood Mobile and at Asbury Park, where she leads a weekly cooking demonstration for residents.
She celebrated her birthday earlier this month with a reception at First United Methodist Church, hosted by her niece. She also received balloons, flowers and cards from both local and out-of-town friends and family.
The cards she received, neatly stacked, measure at least six inches tall. And those are just the ones that came through the mail. Cards from her party fill a large punch bowl.
Wendt recalls the exact day she moved to Newton; it was Nov. 1, 1945. She moved here for a job with KG&E as a demonstrator for electric kitchen appliances. She had previously taught home economics.
“I just loved Newton,” she said, explaining why she has stayed here ever since. Born in Sedan in 1910, Wendt has lived in Kansas all her life.
Since retiring, Wendt has remained independent, and still lives at her own home and even drives herself to and from church and social events.
“I enjoy my home and I enjoy working in my yard,” she answers, when asked if she’s ever considered moving to a retirement home.
Wendt keeps busy, spending her time at church events and volunteering. On Thursdays, she and Helen Scott host “What’s Cookin’?” at Asbury Park. The two do a cooking demonstration, then serve what they have prepared to residents who attend. Wendt said she and Scott have been doing “What’s Cookin’?” for 25 years.
She also finds time to bake peppernuts for her church every year. She expects to bake 200 pounds of peppernuts this year, which will be sold at the church bazaar to raise money.
“That money usually goes for missions or some other good cause,” she said.
And for now, she also has a pile of birthday cards that have been keeping her busy.
“It’s taking a while to read through them all,” Wendt said. She estimates she’s read more than half so far. She said the most special one she received is from a cousin’s grandson who is currently deployed to Afghanistan with the Air Force. Rather than a card, he sent a photo of himself, in uniform, holding a sign wishing her a happy 100th birthday.
Wendt also meets a group of friends for lunch and to play cards weekly and attends church on Sundays. When at home, she enjoys gardening.