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103-year-old woman puts on piano recital daily

Posted at 6:54 AM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 07:54:07-05

PAYNESVILLE, MN (WCCO/CNN) — A 103-year-old woman in Minnesota does something special every day at lunch. She performs a piano recital every lunch for the residents of Stearns Place Assisted Living in Paynesville.

She says she’s been doing the thing she loves for nearly 100 years.

Ruth Everson performs for the residents every day at 11:45 a.m. – when lunch is served.

"You meet a lot of people playing the piano. And I'm a people person. I like to be happy," Everson said.

Ruth Everson is 103, but her love for the piano began when she was 5. Her dad would use a horse-drawn wagon to take milk cans into Grove City.

He'd drop young Everson off for a piano lesson while he did business. Eventually, her parents sold a cow to buy her a piano.

“When she plays the songs that people know there are smiles on their faces....and you can see that they are enjoying the music that they remember," her son, Ken Hanson, said.

Everson said playing the piano is second nature. From being the first organist at Paynesville Lutheran Church in 1938, to teaching her grandkids and great grandkids how to play – it’s always been a big part of her life.

To stay young, she started putting on a daily recital- Monday through Sunday. She said she even takes requests.

“She's told me it's the reason she gets up in the morning. She has something to do and we would be disappointed if she wasn't here," Everson’s friend Kathee Martinson said.

While the audience has changed over the years, the residents here need Grandma Ruth as much as she needs them. She's become a musician/therapist as she listens to their problems.

And when the time comes to say good bye, Everson is the one they invite to be by their side.

“People will say they want a certain song played when they are passing away. It makes them happy," she said.

" She's a very active lady and very sweet. Always has been and always will be."

Everson said she plans on playing the piano until she can’t anymore.

Everson also fishes as much as she can on area lakes - often going with her great grandkids to catch walleye and whatever else swims their way.