Hillard ‘Jake’ Klossner turns 100

WINTHROP – Saturday, former New Ulm resident Hillard “Jake” Klossner celebrated a milestone few are fortunate enough to achieve: a 100th Birthday.

In his century of life Klossner has worked as a farmer, worked 12 years at a Tractor Cab Company in Mankato, and served as a volunteer well into his 90s. Klossner has lived around New Ulm all his life, only recently relocating to Winthrop. He is the father of three children, eight grandchildren 19 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.

Klossner remains very matter-of fact about his 100th birthday, commenting that the secret to his long life is that he hasn’t died yet. However, it is likely genetics plays a factor. Klossner’s mother lived to be 102 years-old, while his great-grandmother lived to be 93. Klossner is nicknamed after his great-uncle Jacob Klossner, Jr. who died in 1944 at age 97. In the 1940’s living into the 90s was unusual.

In addition Klossner has kept active even after retiring. Until age 96, Klossner served a volunteer for the senior transportation program in New Ulm. The position involved driving senior citizens to appointments and on occasion helping carry groceries. During the last few years of working with the transport program Klossner was assisting residents that were younger than him. Klossner has also volunteered his time as a caretaker at Turner Hall, trimming branches and fixing fences. This allow him to indulge in one his favorite hobbies: using a chainsaw.

The chainsaw is far and away his favorite power tool. Klossner started with the original gasoline powered chainsaw, but upgraded to the lighter weight electrical model which is easier to use. Klossner stated that he has been careful over the years to know his limits.

Ironically, Klossner did not always have the best health, saying that as a young man he was very sickly. “I probably should have gone to the doctor, but my father would never take me.”

Working on farm, Klossner was careful not to overexert himself. It was only later in life that Klossner discovered he had anemia due to an iron deficiency. Klossner also suffered from neck and back problems. However with a diagnosis for his anemia as well as the help of a good chiropractor, Klossner was able to improve the quality of his life to this very day.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of a long life is acquiring a large number of family. A special party was held for Klossner at Turner Hall on August 17. Over 200 people attended the celebration, many of whom intend to return for Klossner’s 101st birthday.

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