Woman Turns 104 Years Old, Shares Secret to a Long and Healthy Life

SIBLEY, I.A. – A great-great grandmother is celebrating her 104th birthday in Sibley.

“What’s the best part about being 104?” said Thiele. “ I don’t know I have to say I’ve never been there before.”>

As Zita Thiele grows another year older, her world keeps getting bigger.

She has 48 great-grand children and six great-great grandchildren, with two more on the way.

“What’s it like to see your family grow over the years?” asked KDLT.

“I think ‘oh my gosh, what did I do?’” said Thiele.

“People are missing out a lot now that they don’t have that anymore,” said Thiele. “You know big family gatherings and things. The family was together.”

At 104, Zita lives on her own and is plenty busy. She plays cards with her friends every day, knits, bakes, reads, and loves a good crossword.

“I have the puzzles once in a while,” said Thiele. “I don’t know, there’s always something to do.”>

Zita was born in 1914 and hasn’t slowed down ever since. She didn’t retire until she was 82 and drove until she was 100. She’s seen society change with her.

“I grew up in the horse and buggy days,” said Thiele.

Her picture-perfect memory makes her a human history book.

“She can recall when someone was born, or when they were married and what the weather was that day,” said her nephew and godson, Gary Trei.

There is a price to pay when you live such a long life. Zita has outlived three of her seven children.

“We’ve had a lot of tragic things as far as that goes in our family but when you have a large family, you’re going to have that stuff,” said Thiele.

While Zita has enough family and stories to fill scrapbooks, she says the past is the past.

“One time she told me ‘I don’t worry about things. Things are going to happen and you do with them and that’s kind of been the way she’s gone through life,” said Trei.

“Whatever happens that day, no use in looking backwards,” said Thiele. “Life is full of surprises.”

Zita’s recommends having a big family to surround yourself with. She credits her good health to keeping her mind sharp and not eating after 4:30pm everyday. Zita’s family is already planning her 105th birthday celebration for next year.