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Draper Resident Celebrates 105th Birthday

Mar 09, 2016 10:35AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Draper - Surrounded by friends and four generations of family, Draper resident Mildred Olsen Del’Andrae celebrated her 105th birthday on Jan. 28. Del’Andrae has lived in Beehive Homes Assisted Living ever since its Memory Care Center opened three years ago. The center threw Del’Andrae a big party with music provided by the Salt Lake Crooners. Del’Andrae was the center of attention with a special birthday necklace around her neck and residents and family members wishing her a happy birthday. 

“My mom is an amazing woman,” Linda Maddera, the second oldest daughter of Del’Andrae, said. “She’s just a wonderful mother.”

Maddera shared memories of her mother, remembering Del’Andrae taking her to Kress’s Five and Dime store. 

“We would get toast tuna fish sandwiches and hot fudge sundaes,” Maddera said. 

Maddera also said Del’Andrae traveled a lot. 

“When she was my age, 76 years old, she went to Egypt to visit my brother,” Maddera said. “She rode a camel.”

According to a brief biography printed at Beehive Homes, Del’Andrae was born on Jan. 28, 1911, in Salt Lake City. Her first job was at Kress after she sneaked away from her grandmother and began working behind the counter. 

“I actually fibbed a little about my age to obtain my initial employment,” Del’Andrae said in the biography.

During the Great Depression, she worked as a timekeeper and statistical clerk at the Postal Telegraph Office of Salt Lake City. There, she recorded all the reports and performed teletype when needed. She always considered herself lucky to have a job during that hard time. 

She married Louis Smith Newsom in 1934 and together, they had two girls and one boy and raised them in Sugar House. In 1949, Louis unexpectedly died of cerebral hemorrhage. Del’Andrae raised her three children alone. She opened up a day care center in her home so she could earn money while raising her kids. 

Del’Andrae married Roy Del’Andrae in 1951 and gave birth to her youngest daughter in 1953. After their children were raised, Roy and Mildred moved to Holladay. After going out for breakfast, they would flip a coin to decide which direction they should drive, embarking on many road trips together. Roy died in 1977. 

The family has since lost count how many descendants Del’Andrae has. The last count took place five years ago when she turned 100. At that time, Del’Andrae had four children, 22 grand children, 47 great grandchildren and 24 great-great grandchildren. 

Del’Andrae attributes her longevity and good health to her sparing use of medications. 

“I have never, even to this day, been one to take any medications unless absolutely necessary,” Del’Andrae said.

While it is unofficial, Del’Andrae’s daughter, Debbie Harmer, has talked to Draper City officials and according to their records, it is possible Del’Andrae is the oldest resident living in Draper. 

Del’Andrae is adored by Beehive Homes employees and is the only centenarian in residence. This was her third birthday celebrated at Beehive Homes.

“When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing she does is have a big smile on her face,” Linnea Chinn, the general manager of Beehive Homes in Draper, said. 

Chinn said Del’Andrae has a very supportive family, often visiting her a couple times a week. She also loves to have her hair and makeup done and is rarely seen without her diamond engagement rings. She also loves to hold dolls as a way of comforting herself. 

Chinn said when employees ask Del’Andrae how she got to live so long, she generally shrugs it off and says, “It’s no big deal.”