Anna Marie Suppes celebrated her 100th birthday last week, first with a party at Crossroads Assisted Living, then with a family celebration at the Olathe Community Center on Saturday.
Anna Marie has been a resident of Crossroads Assisted Living Center in Delta for eight years. At the celebration there, Delta Mayor Ed Sisson proclaimed Aug. 4 "Anna Marie Suppes Day."
Anna Marie Suppes was born Aug. 4, 1916, in Coal Creek, Kan. The family moved to Wyoming and Idaho in search of a drier climate for her asthmatic mother. She vividly recalls moving trips with her four brothers and six sisters. On one journey, they used some of the canned goods they were moving to barter for a trailer repair.
Anna Marie served in a convent in Dubuque, Iowa. After leaving the convent, she rejoined her family in western Colorado. She married Johnny Suppes, a family friend, in Montrose on April 17, 1956. They adopted a son and a daughter who now live in Arizona and Nebraska.
Anna Marie taught school for 36 years. She started her teaching career in high school, but quickly decided she preferred younger kids. Through the years, she taught middle school, elementary school and special education in Iowa and Colorado. She taught school in Olathe from 1961 to 1984, then was a substitute at St. Michael's Catholic School in Delta in 1984 and 1985.
Her husband John farmed 80 acres near Olathe. Between raising beets, beans and other crops, they designed and built their home. In later years they sold the farm and moved a trailer onto a small parcel carved from the 80 acres. She and John also lived in Arizona for a few years. They explored the desert and ventured to the Sea of Cortez, where Anna Marie's interest in shells was sparked. She's transformed many of those seashells into beautiful decor.
Anna Marie attribues her longevity to strength. "Never say you can't," she said. "Just try."
She said it's also important not to "slack off." She keeps busy quilting and making beaded jewelry, in addition to making beautiful seashell creations.
At the age of 94, she decided to write her autobiography. She pulled out her mother's and her sister's diaries, read back through her own entries, and filled two looseleaf notebooks with the story of her life. The first notebook contains memories from her early years; the second is dated 1956-1999 and encompasses her married life. She has allowed only a few people to read her autobiography because she says it contains some "intimate, crazy things."
She and John were married 49 years when he died. They had numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
To Anna Marie, the world has always been an interesting place and she continues her quest to learn about other countries and other cultures through large print library books. She still has much to learn and to share with others. "Life is interesting if you want it to be," she said.
This article was based, in part, on a back page article published April 24, 2014.