Maui resident Glade Feike woke up this morning to a milestone reached by only .0004% of the world’s 7.8 billion people: Her 100th birthday.
For such a momentous occasion, 34 friends and five generations of family members traveled from near and far to celebrate at a grand party for the matriarch on Sunday. Gifts included lots of flowers and a giant-sized box of chocolates courtesy of See’s Candies CEO Pat Egan.
The global chocolate company also was born in 1921 – “Two California originals,” as Glade’s son Kurt said in a Facebook post.
A family member contacted Egan to tell him about Feike, who also was turning 100 and had been a loyal patron of See’s Candies for decades.
“Mom tells me the story about when she worked in San Francisco, she would be the one to leave the office with a little list of things they wanted from See’s Candies,” said Kathi Feike, Glade’s daughter who now lives with her mother.
“She said she would run down the hill in high heels, and stand in line. I think she even had the ration stamps during the war. I could see her with her pink stockings and her business outfit, going down the hill to buy See’s chocolates.”
While chocolate may have played a role, Glade said the secret to her longevity is: “Living on Maui. Oh, the climate, my friends and all the casualness. There is not so much stress.”
Her life began on Dec. 6, 1921 in Rupert, Idaho, during the Roaring ‘20s. She was born Zelada Glade Durant to Burton and Clara Durant. She predated the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge by more than a decade.
About a year after her birth, the Feike family moved to warmer California, where Glade spent much of her life.
Upon graduation from high school, she worked various jobs that included work at the library at Oregon State and bookkeeping for the USO (United Services Organization) during World War II. At the USO, Glade said she “recruited volunteers for dances, to socialize with the returning servicemen.”
She also took advantage of her good looks.
“In my mom’s younger years she did a little bit of modeling,” Kathi Feike said. “She was a beautiful lady.”
In her 20s, Glade Durant met Earl Feike at a high-rise apartment building where she lived with friends and a cousin.
“The place had been built mostly for war widows,” she said.
Earl had survived his war service flying training bombers for the US Air Force and was an available, dashing young man.
Glade recalled their first date vividly: “I was babysitting my cousin’s two little girls, a 5-year-old and a 7-year old. We went to the beach.”
Glade was smitten with Earl due to his “looks, personality, charm and laugh.”
They married in 1946 and had two children (Kurt was born in 1950 and Kathi in 1955).
“She was a great mom,” Kathi said, remembering her childhood. “She was a homemaker and worked very hard to be a good one. She took pride in everything. Having gone through the Great Depression at a young age, she valued everything.”
During her century of life, Glade has witnessed many epic events, including one she didn’t want her children to miss.
“We were on a family trip down to Southern California,” Glade said. “I got my husband to pull off to a hotel or motel, so the kids could watch Apollo. They were hungry and didn’t want to, but I told them you are never going to see this again. They are glad now they did.”
Of course, it was Apollo 11, when the first men walked on the moon in 1969.
Glade’s first trip to Maui occurred in the 1970s, thanks to a convention her husband attended due to his job with the Paladino Seeds company.
She instantly fell in love with the island for “the water, friendly people and the culture.”
After many vacations to Maui during the ensuing years, and following Earl’s retirement from the seed company, the couple bought an oceanfront condo in Makani Sands, north of Lahaina in Napili-Honokowai in 1995 and became full-time Maui residents.
While Earl Feike wasn’t sure at first how to make the big move happen, Glade told him: “We have an estate sale and a garage sale and put our house on the market.”
The couple became a fixture in the community, joining the Lahaina Yacht Club and donating to the Philanthropic Educational Opportunity for Women. Glade said she also kept busy painting Hawaiian flowers, and by taking ukulele lessons, “but I never learned how.”
Glade and Earl were married for more than 50 years when Earl died in 2004.
Glade remained in their Maui condo. She attributes part of her longevity to her love of physical activity, which included years of being a “water walker” in pools. While Glade loves going into the ocean, she prefers the pool because “there are no rocks on the bottom.”
During 100 years, she is most enamored with the evolution of electronics and the computer. She even got a Facebook account, but used it “Mostly to spy. I wanted to keep track of what was going on.”
The one thing she wished she hadn’t seen during her lifetime was “so many wars.” She also hopes that the Coronavirus ends. “We never expected it. Now I hope the new strain is not a problem.”
Kathi Feike said the past year has been tough for her mother, who suffered pneumonia, a broken hip and a few other maladies. Her mind is sharp but she uses a wheelchair.
“I told my mom when she had pneumonia she was so close to getting her face on a Smucker’s jar,” an honor bestowed for those who reach 100.
Glade persevered and said the day before she turned 100, and after a nap: “I didn’t believe I would make it to 100.”
Glade is happy she did. For the celebration, she got to meet her great great granddaughter, 2-year-old Harper, for the first time. “She is so smart, and so fun,” Glade said.
Glade asked her daughter to help with the counting of her grandkids. She has 3 grandkids, 6 great grandkids and 2 great great grandkids.
And do her grandchildren think it is cool grandma is turning 100? Glade said: “Oh, you bet.”
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