Roessler reflects on a century

Lisa Ingebrand, Life/Enterprise
Long-time Elysian resident Gen Roessler will celebrate 100 years on January 22. (Submitted Photo)

Genevieve “Gen” (Jewison) Roessler, age 99, a long-time resident of Elysian, believes in keeping busy, a practice for which she credits her own longevity.

“Keep busy. Always have something to do. Help out whenever and wherever, and pray a lot,” she advised. “And, don’t smoke and drink… or do so very little. I had a half a beer on July Fourth each year to celebrate.”

Roessler, who now resides at the Benedictine Center in St. Peter, will turn 100 years old on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, sat down recently to reflect on her own century of keeping busy.

Her story starts on a farm between Elysian and Janesville where she was born to Bridgett (Cahill) and Christopher Jewison. She had five brothers and two sisters.

“I remember the first car we had… It was an open top—no roof—Ford. All of my brothers and sisters got in the back seat and away we went! Of course, we did not go when it was raining,” she recalled with a laugh.

Roessler attended a country school that was about a one-and-a-half-mile walk from her home, and later attended Janesville High School through the tenth grade. History was her favorite subject.

Because of the Great Depression, Roessler was not able to complete her high school education. She needed to work to help pay the family’s expenses, and at 16 years old quickly found a position working for a Mrs. Sullivan.

“She had about six hired men to help her on her farm. I did all the cooking— three meals a day—the laundry, and the cleaning,” Roessler shared. “I stayed there for four years, and would go home on Sundays after the meals were all cooked.”

During those difficult years, Roessler and her family members shared....

To see more on this story pick up the January 17, 2019 print edition of the Life or Enterprise papers. 


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