Through the 19th Amendment, the enforcement of Prohibition began. In the same year, jazz music had begun entering into prominence — an era known as the “Roaring ‘20s.” And on Aug. 24, 1920, Anita Abraham, now Kockelman, was born on a farm near St. Leo, Minn. Raised in a family of 13 children. Anita married Leo Kockelman in 1939 at St. Leo Catholic Church — which Leo had even helped build. The couple moved to Dawson in 1953. Leo passed away in 2008, and Anita currently lives in a care center. Once you put all of those numbers together, you quickly realize that Anita will be 103 years old next month!
“I don’t have any secrets to my longevity,” she says. “I pray the Rosary every day, attend Mass when it’s offered here, and just go on day by day.”
Leo had been active at St. James in Dawson as a trustee and usher. He also served on the cemetery board. Leo spent his career at the Dawson mill, and Anita was a homemaker who also did upholstery and enjoyed yard work. She did a lot of vegetable and flower gardening. Her flowers were featured twice in the Dawson Sentinel. Anita helped out at St. James with funerals and weddings, and she made the gravy and baked many pies for the Fall Festival. Anita has two sons and one daughter, one grandson, and two great-grandsons. One son, Randy, had Down syndrome and lived with the couple his whole life, and lived with Anita at the care center. He passed on July 27, 2021.
“Randy was my constant companion, and I dearly miss him,” Anita says.
Anita and Leo loved fishing. They also learned how to golf after they retired, with Randy always coming along.
Still, not one to sit idly, Anita keeps busy with crafts. She enjoys embroidering, crocheting, and doing diamond art. She also enjoys all the activities at the care center.
“My mom has always kept busy,” says Phyllis Peterson, Anita’s daughter. “I have a hard time finding things to keep her busy still!”
Our faith community wishes Anita a very happy 103rd birthday this August!