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Bob Lind, Published July 21 2012

Neighbors: Despite not making it to 100th birthday, Gladys still gets party

Gladys Brager really was a nice woman. But you might wonder when you consider she loved to eat “naughty snacks” and play a card game called “Spite and Malice.”

Gladys died July 18 last year, three weeks after her 99th birthday. In June this year, her family and friends gathered to celebrate what would have been her 100th year.

They honored her memory by playing marathon rounds of Spite and Malice and consuming those “naughty snacks” of hers, including chocolate-covered peanuts, molasses cookies, mint cookies and doughnuts.

They also listened to tapes of her conversations with her grandson, Corey Horob.

Corey, now of New York City, used to work for radio stations in Grand Forks, Champaign, Ill., and Des Moines, Iowa. Every Friday morning for about six years, he’d call Gladys and interview her on the air during a segment he called “Moments with Grandma,” which she always concluded with her “words of wisdom.”

It was tapes of those “Moments with Grandma” that the folks heard while playing cards and munching.

Teaching, farming

The former Gladys Samnoen grew up between Hatton and Finley, N.D. She graduated from Hatton High School in 1930, attended Mayville (N.D.) State Teachers College, and then taught in rural schools, finally ending her teaching career at Hope, N.D.

She married Harry Brager in 1942. They farmed near Finley.

Gladys’ survivors include four children: Harlan, Kenmore, Wash.; Diane Newburgh, West Fargo; John, Finley; and Ruth (who goes by “Ruthie”) Horob, Fargo. Gladys also had eight grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Her baby sister, Mildred “Millie” Skurdell, Northwood, N.D., was among those attending the party. She in fact was the guest of honor and was the first one seated and the first one to deal the cards. Millie is 96.

Bedtime ice cream

Cousins of Gladys’ children who couldn’t be there called during the party to share their memories of Aunt Gladys.

Then the group at the party – all 24 of them – went to Country Kitchen, Fargo, because that’s where Gladys and Ruthie, who Gladys lived with until moving to Bethany Homes, Fargo, shortly before her death, had brunch most Sundays after attending services at Bethel Evangelical Free Church, Fargo.

And what did the group eat? Ice cream, because Ruthie says her mom had ice cream absolutely every night before going to bed.

Ruthie says this party might become an annual event.

She also says she’s hopeful this story will inspire others to honor what has become known as the “Greatest Generation.”

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com

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