Faces in the Crowd: Vivian Grover

Rapid City proclaimed Tuesday, Feb. 20, Vivian Grover Day, for she turned 107 years young. She resides at the Fountain Springs Nursing Home in Rapid City and is still going strong. 

"2-20-11, my birth date,” said Grover.  

Born when William Howard Taft was president, Grover grew up on a farm in Minnesota with seven siblings. And life was sure different than today.

"We had a lot of cows that had to be milked by hand,” said Grover. “And so every morning … I had to help Dad and brothers milk the cows and then eat breakfast and walk a mile to country school,” said Grover.

Known for her stories at Fountain Springs Nursing Home, Grover describes a much different time growing up on the farm, where she lived without electricity or running water.

"You probably had a dishwasher,” said Grover. “Well, we didn’t. We had to wash them and rinse them, then dry them and put them away by hand."

The activities director at Fountain Springs Nursing Home, Christena Vancleave says Grover loves to talk about growing up in a farm.

“Don’t call it a ranch,” said Vancleave. “She likes to call it a farm, and milking the cows, and she’ll tell you about having to walk to school. She has really fun stories once you get her talking."

After living through the roaring 20s, moved to South Dakota during the Great Depression. And that was a time in which she says there was no money to buy knick-knacks, just food on the table.

She married her husband Harry Grover and worked as a deputy clerk in the magistrate court with only 2 years of high school.

Since retiring, she’s spent time volunteering, she climbed Black Elk Peak in her 70s, known back then as Harney Peak. And since moving to the nursing home, she enjoys music, Bingo and Bunco.

"No one knows how much longer we have,” said Vancleave. “But I hope we have Vivian for another 10 years. But who knows?”

After living through the first television broadcast, space flight, moon landings and the construction of Mount Rushmore, she’s reached a rare point in life. And it’s her high energy and spirit that keeps her going. But it might just be the simple things that helped her reach 107.  

"Good health, good husband, good family, traveling,” said Grover. “I am thankful that I’m here at my age and able to get around. A lot of people can’t."

Due to weather, the city’s proclamation of Vivan Grover was pushed to Feb. 24, but Feb. 20 is still dedicated to Grover.

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Categories: Faces in the Crowd