Local woman celebrates 103rd birthday

RAPID CITY, S.D. – A lot of love fits into 100 years. Even more fits into 103, and Wilma Negaard would be the first tell you that life is full of both loss and love.

She turned 103 in Rapid City Saturday, surrounded by her friends and daughter, who play bingo and card games with her often. Many know Wilma from the 50 years she spent trimming hair and restoring confidence in the many beauty shops she worked in and owned.

Wilma Turns 103“I moved to Jackson Boulevard, and I had four operators there and I kept that until I retired,” Negaard says.

Her last stop was not nearly the end of bringing joy to the the women in her community.

“You’ve been so nice to me, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your guys’ kindness and friendliness,” she said to those who joined her. 

Negaard’s father was one of the original settlers and ranchers of Buffalo, South Dakota, and she has passed this legacy on through children, grand children, great grand children, and even, “Six great great grandchildren, the oldest of which was born on her birthday,” says her daughter, Tena Heck.

After retiring Wilma says she was finally able to enjoy life’s gifts, like, “Taking care of my kids for a change,” and splitting her time between serving and being outdoors.

She “spent a lot of time between church and Hill City. And going to the lake fishing.”

Tena attributes some of Wilma’s longevity to healthy habits, saying, “she doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink. Never has,” and the rest to the fact that her family – “they’re almost all ranch people”, who simply, “do what needs to be done”.

Wilma doesn’t even use a walker, unless it’s being used as a serving cart when she’s delivering her famous zucchini bread to friends.

Of course, I asked for some wisdom, to which she responded, “I can’t say that I can give you advice because I haven’t been that good myself.”

But I eventually heard everything we need to know, “Just do what’s right.”

Happy Birthday, Wilma!

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News