Marysville's Hajek turns 100

Ernie Hajek is all smiles after his 100th birthday on Jan. 17. - Kirk Boxleitner
Ernie Hajek is all smiles after his 100th birthday on Jan. 17.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — "I feel like I still want to keep going," said Ernie Hajek, a resident of the Madeleine Villa Health Care Center in Marysville, after he celebrated his 100th birthday on Jan. 17 of this year. At the same time, ask him what he most looks forward to when he wakes up in the morning, and he'll chuckle and say, "I don't want to wake up. I'd rather sleep."

Hajek is a man who still appreciates the simpler pleasures of life. Born in Brainard, Neb. and raised in North Dakota, Hajek wet to school up to the eighth grade, then went to work as a meat-cutter and a landscaper. The first car he bought was a 1930 Ford Coupe, but he didn't buy his first home until he was 77 years old. It was a two-bedroom house in North Dakota that he paid $55,000 for.

Throughout his life, Hajek has enjoyed all sports, especially baseball, as well as hunting, fishing, playing cards and going camping with his wife in their trailer in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hajek was married for 65 years, and their daughter gave them one grandchild and two great-grandchildren.

"I loved my wife dearly," Hajek said. "She was a very nice, sweet lady. She cooked good and kept up the house, and she never complained. She was just perfect."

Hajek's favorite memories of his wife are when they went dancing and bowling together.

"I couldn't score for beans," Hajek said of his bowling game.

At Madeleine Villa, Hajek has kept active with daily walks, taking part in the center's activities and enjoying hot cups of cocoa.

"I look forward to seeing my friends and listening to their stories," Hajek said. "All of the staff are so nice to me here."

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