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Centenarian Expert and Older Adults Advocate

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Miriam Krotzer, 100

Miriam Krotzer moved from eastern Missouri to Phoenix, Arizona, with her parents and younger sister when she was 10. “My mother had rheumatoid arthritis,” Miriam explains.  “We came here, to the dry climate, for her health.” Miriam lost her mother at the age of 16. 
        She married a local Phoenix boy when she was 22. “He was half Native American and came from a family of 10. His mother was the sweetest person; she was very good to me.”  The family owned and operated a gas station and grocery store, and Miriam and her husband lived in the small house “cattycorner” from it. Miriam’s father-in-law had been killed a few years earlier during a hold-up of the store, leaving Miriam’s husband the sole supporter of his mother and nine younger siblings.
        Miriam tells that at that time, there were a lot of people who came to Arizona to treat and hopefully recover from tuberculosis. A large colony of very tiny homes developed at the western edge of what was then the city limit of Phoenix, near their store. It was during the Depression and Miriam says that life was much harder than even the most vivid portrayals relate. “We had the flu, and we were both in bed, very sick. But my husband got up to work and tended to the store and gas station; he felt he had to for the sake of his family. I stayed in bed and took care of myself.  He caught TB and spent the next three years in the Indian School Hospital before he died.”
        During that time, Miriam rented the store and house and took a job at the local “dime store,” where she worked for several years while attending night school to take business courses.“They were mostly typing and bookkeeping (courses),” she says. I moved closer to the hospital so I could visit my husband every day.”
        After her husband passed away, Miriam got an office job, met her second husband, Keith, and moved with him to Seattle, where she worked for many years for Northwest Airlines as a reservationist. “I was using one of the earliest computers,” she recalls. “It really was a new field, as was the entire reservation industry. It was exciting. I loved living in Seattle.” But after her husband retired, he wanted to move back to Arizona for his health —war injuries sustained during World War II. In 1990, Keith passed away. 
        Miriam has been an active volunteer in the VA for many years, is friendly, witty and thinks and speaks at lightening speed! Church and weekly Bible studies are important to her. “I have read the Bible entirely through three times,” she says, proudly. “You need to keep re-reading it and studying because you can’t remember all that’s there.” Miriam reads several passages and special prayers each day, saying that it grounds her. “Some days, I read more,” she remarks. 
        She still drives and maintains her independence, although a fall on New Year’s Eve four years ago has required her to use a cane for assistance. “I was getting out of my car at the VA to go in to help serve a special dinner to the residents, and I slipped getting out of the car and broke my hip. It’s bothered me ever since.” 
But never one to dwell on a negative she counters, brightly.  “Did you know that Genesis 6:3 tells us that God has intended us to live for 120 years?  I believe it.” 


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