Kamsack-born woman celebrates 110th birthday

A woman who was born on March 2 near Kamsack 110 years ago, celebrated her birthday this month at her home at Fairway View Neighborhoods in Ortonville, Minnesota.

Rena Bagne is said to be the third-oldest citizen of the state of Minnesota and until her sister Edna Paasche died on June 23, 2017 at the age of 107, they were the oldest known siblings in the world.

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Rena Bagne was born on a homestead claim near Kamsack on March 2, 1908, a daughter to Hjalmer Olaf and Inga Haldorson, said Norman A. Shelsta, a long-time friend who had contacted the Times in a letter received last week.

Times were difficult and in 1911 the young family, after having lived in the area for about eight years, returned to farm in Minnesota, between the communities of Cyrus and Starbuck, Shelsta said.

“Rena had been a nurse in her working days and even after retirement was a caretaker for a retired doctor and his wife at their home,” Shelsta said. “Rena's husband Walter Bagne was the manager of a canning factory here in Ortonville for many years.

Rena speaks often of Canada and has made several motor trips to her homeland in Canada over the years, he said.

“Rena has been a longtime, faithful member of First English Lutheran Church and especially enjoyed attending the weekly quilting sessions of Day of Love. She attended every week as long as health permitted,” he said. “Rena thanks everyone for visits, food, flowers, musical entertainment and all the things that made her life over these past 110 years a unique and pleasant journey.”

Shelsta, who has volunteered to assist the sisters with things over the past 20 years, said that they “will be amazed that their homeland in Canada remembers them so well.”