|Birth: ||Oct. 22, 1888|
|Death: ||Oct. 23, 1993|
Wichita Eagle, October 24, 1993
LENA FOLK DIES AFTER CELEBRATING 105TH BIRTHDAY
Lena Folk had looked forward to her birthday, and although she wasn't feeling well her arms and legs were frail and her lungs congested she gathered with friends and family in a Peabody nursing home Friday to celebrate her 105th year.
Several hours later, the woman everyone called "Aunt Lena" died in her sleep.
"It was like we gave her a big send-off or something," said Barbara Gentzler, one of Miss Folk's nieces. "Somehow, she knew this would be her last birthday the last time she'd get to meet with these people and I think she was comfortable with that."
Miss Folk was born in 1888 in Peoria County, Ill., but spent most of her life in Wichita before moving three years ago to the Peabody Memorial Nursing Home. She never married and spent much of her life caring for her brother and four sisters.
''She was a very fun-loving person, but also a very serious person at times," Gentzler said.
''She had read the Bible through I don't know how many times, and she could quote Scripture like anything. But not just that she knew how to apply it. She believed in the Golden Rule. She was a very caring woman."
She was also a pack rat, and kept dozens of scrapbooks full of photos and clippings from newspapers and magazines. Some reflect her life wedding invitations from nieces and nephews, scribbled Bible verses, a copy of Clement C. Moore's "The Night Before Christmas" and a photo of her mother with Shirley Temple.
Others are bizarre. Pages and pages of clippings about the Dionne quintuplets, for instance, five girls from Canada who had no relation to Miss Folk.
''She had a thing about quintuplets, I guess," said Lois Gentzler, a niece who now keeps Miss Folk's scrapbooks and the house she once inhabited at First and Green. "We never asked her why she kept that stuff. Never thought to, really."
Shortly after Miss Folk moved to Wichita at the turn of the century, she taught herself to drive. She also taught herself how to play the piano church hymns mostly and through the years she played for audiences at Central Christian Church, at homeless shelters and at the County Jail.
Shirley Smith, administrator of Peabody Memorial Nursing Home, said Miss Folk continued playing the piano past her 104th birthday, whenever she wasn't busy sharing stories with her friends there.
''She was just a beautiful lady," Smith said. "When you took the time and it took time, because she was hard of hearing to visit with her, she'd tell the most wonderful stories."
(The following sentence appeared in the State edition only). She also loved to play the piano and tell stories about her youth in Kansas, Gentzler said. Although she was too weak to talk during her birthday party Friday, Miss Folk listened as friends and family members rehashed old tales and even passed around a pair of Miss Folk's baby shoes.
''People sat beside her and said, 'Remember when we did this?' or 'Remember that?' " Barbara Gentzler said. "She could nod or shake her head, and she would hold people's hands. She was definitely responding."
Friends used to say that Miss Folk was too stubborn to die and that that's why she lived so long. But Gentzler said Aunt Lena was looking forward to death not because she was tired of living, but because she was eager to meet up with old friends in heaven.
''So if you hear a big clap of thunder this weekend, you'll know all the Folks are up there, talking and having a good ol' time now that Aunt Lena's there," she said.
Miss Folk's funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Central Christian Church in Wichita. A memorial has been established with the church.
Peter Folk (____ - 1902)
Adeline Estella Folk Gentzler (1884 - 1980)*
Lena Viola Folk (1888 - 1993)
Maple Grove Cemetery
Plot: Section P, Lot 121, Grave 60
Created by: The Old Genealogist
Record added: Jan 25, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33258251