Grand Rapids super-centenarian woman led remarkable life till the end: relatives say

Grand Rapids super-centenarian woman led remarkable life till the end: relatives say

Helen Lettinga, a Grand Rapids woman who died late last week at an age of 111, has been remembered as a sharp-witted remarkable lady who led a remarkable life right up till the end.

Born on 6th of February, 1903, in Casnovia, Lettinga breathed her last breath on Saturday, October 25. Her relatives say they were blessed to have Lettinga in their lives for such a long time.

Lettinga's granddaughter Coleen Smith said she was a lady with easygoing nature, sense of humor and kindness.

Speaking about Lettinga, Smith said, "She was a remarkable lady that led a remarkable life right up till the end. She's always been very special to us, always there if anybody needed her for anything."

Smith added that she maintained much of her independence at Pilgrim Manor assisted living on Northeast Side of Grand Rapids, where she lived since the year of 1993. She was able to take care of herself quite well until the end.

Lettinga saw a lot of changes in the world during her more than a century-long life, she saw two world wars, the Great Depression, in addition to fast-changing social scenario. She used to tell her grand children a story of when a friend's father took her to his bowling alley and allowed her to have just a peek inside as women were not allowed at the time to enter bowling alleys.

Lettinga was among a small group of the world's super-centenarians, people who have lived more than a decade past after celebrating their 100th birth anniversary. According to Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, there were just 75 super-centenarians as of August this year. However, the actual estimated number of worldwide living super-centenarians is likely to be in the range of 300 to 450 people.

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