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Viola May <I>Mallernee</I> Koch

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Viola May Mallernee Koch

Birth
Hyde Park, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death
11 Nov 2008 (aged 111)
Calistoga, Napa County, California, USA
Burial
Saint Helena, Napa County, California, USA Add to Map
Plot
Block 2-219, Lot 343
Memorial ID
View Source
111!

By John Waters Jr.
Editor
Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:59 AM PDT

Viola Mallernee Koch knows how to celebrate a birthday. Her secret? Loads of practice. The Calistoga Gardens Nursing Care Center resident has celebrated 111 birthdays, and there are only two people in California who've celebrated more.

For the last several years, the Calistoga Gardens supercentenarian — anyone older than 110 years — has enjoyed the ritual of getting all gussied up on her special day, May 24 — her birthday — but, according to her grand-daughter, Sharon Baldwin, of St. Helena, the camera flashes of last year may have been too much.

"For years she'd get her hair done on her birthday, but this year, she just refused, and she didn't say why," said Viola's granddaughter Sharon Baldwin, of St. Helena. "It was probably getting her picture taken while getting her hair washed last year that did it."

According to Baldwin, Viola is (technically) her step-grandmother. "But she's the only grandma I've ever known, and I grew up very close to her," Baldwin said.

Viola had married Baldwin's grandfather after her biological grandmother passed away. Baldwin, and about 10 other family members, including great-grandson Kerry Baldwin, from Angwin, and three great-great-grandsons, filled a guest conference room and the Calistoga Gardens on Saturday to share memories, stories and a slice of Viola's very favorite lemon meringue pie.

"My earliest memory of great-grandma is smelling the fresh cookies, or the best homemade wheat bread ever, coming from her kitchen," said Kerry Scott Baldwin, 36, of Angwin (see his story below). "I also always remember how kind she was with us, and patient, and never a cross word."

Koch, according to the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, is listed as number 48 among the world's supercentenarians. She is the youngest, or the 29th person aged at least 111, with 111 years and two days to her credit as of May 26. She is the third oldest person living in California, and is a California native daughter. The next 111-year-old ahead of her in age is Japan's Kiku Nishimura, who is 22 days older. There are only 28 people in the world recorded older than Viola, including two in California — Gertrude Baines, 114, and George Francis, 111 years, 355 days.

"She gets so excited," Baldwin said. "Every time she has another birthday she always asks, ‘Why does everyone keep asking me how I lived so long?' and she just tells them it's because she eats right."

At 111, Viola's family, all Seventh-day Adventists, has never eaten meat, and has never consumed any alcohol.

"She says that's part of the reason she things she has lived so long is that she's never eaten meat, always ate healthy food, doesn't eat between meals or drink alcohol, and for desert, always has lemon meringue pie. In fact, instead of a birthday cake, she has, that's right, lemon pie.

What about Viola?

Born on May 24, 1897 — the same year as William Faulkner — in Hynes, near Long Beach, Viola Mallernee was the third of six girls born to Harrison Frederick Mallernee of Iowa and Josephina Rosenquist of Sweden.

Like three of her sisters, Viola graduated from Paradise Valley Hospital in San Diego and was a registered nurse at Portland Sanitarium and Hospital in Oregon for several years. She met and married John Koch of Sacramento, a business teacher at Healds Business College, in 1945.

At age 90 she was still doing special nursing, providing personal attention to the nursing needs of her patients in their own home.

"Another one of the great things I remember about grandma is that she gave the best back rubs and shoulder massages," Baldwin's son, Kerry.

"I remember when I was a teenager, she'd give me foot massages when we visited her at her home," Baldwin said.

Mind your health

Viola always told her grand-daughter to watch what she ate.

"Grandma told me when I was a little girl, that she started eating right about the time she was 40 years old, and that it was not too early for me to start," Baldwin recalled. "She especially told me not to eat too many potato chips, because she knew that was my favorite thing."

Viola and her sisters had survived their mother, who died of whooping cough when Viola was only seven. For a short time the sisters were sent by their father to live with different relatives because taking care of six little girls proved too difficult for him. By the time Viola turned 14, a beloved aunt, Hester, brought them all back together to live with their dad.

Hester introduced Viola to Christianity and the girl became a Seventh-day Adventist.

"Grandma is strictly a vegetarian, and I believe she has never eaten any meat, ever," Baldwin said. "I know I've never seen her."

Baldwin recalls plenty of great times watching her grandma in the kitchen. She learned how to cook by her side.

"Grandma has always been very healthy," Baldwin said. "She's incredibly alert, although (now she's) a little hard of hearing. She still has a great sense of humor, and she takes no medication, at all."

Viola has almost never taken any pills, and once, when she was given a prescription, it made her feel unfit, so she stopped, and has been medication free ever since.

Incredible changes

In her teens, Viola had a boyfriend who used to drive her around Long Beach on a motorcycle equipped with a sidecar, a thrill she rediscovered when a grandson-in-law took her for a ride on his motorcycle when she was in her late 90s, and in an airplane in and out of the small airport in Angwin, according to a nephew, Allen Baldwin.

"She's lived in three different centuries and has seen so many things change," Baldwin said. "She started out in horse and carriage times, and she remembers them well; then electricity, television, people landing on the moon; and now she gets a huge thrill from seeing us walk around with these little cell phones. I let her use mine to talk to someone and she was all smiles."


Third-oldest Californian dies at 111 in Calistoga

By CHRIS SMITH
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 4:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 5:14 a.m.

Viola May Koch, the third-oldest Californian at 111 years and 6 months old, told relatives and friends in and around Calistoga recently that she just wanted to sleep.

"She'd said that for 10 years, so we didn't think much about it," said a granddaughter, Sharon Baldwin of St. Helena.

But last week, Koch, a former nurse who lived for a time in Covelo in Mendocino County, went to sleep and did not wake up. Staffers at Calistoga Gardens in Calistoga found early Nov. 11 that she had died in the night.

As a member of the very select group of human beings who live past 110 years old, Koch was often asked to speak about a life that reached from the late 19th century into the 21st, and to speculate on why she was living so long.

Just this past August, her status as the 44th-oldest person on Earth earned her an interview with Newsweek magazine.

A vegetarian who outlived all three of her children, Koch would offer this advice for living a long and healthy life: "Drink plenty of water, don't eat meat, don't overeat, don't eat between meals, and don't eat desserts -- except for lemon pie."

She left to her four grandchildren and 16 great- and great-great-grandchildren a simple and priceless gift: the diaries in which she briefly recorded the events of virtually every day of her life.

With her death, Petaluma resident Noemi Anderson, who turned 111 on Sept. 28, becomes the third-oldest Californian and the 55th-oldest person on Earth, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

The group is a nationally recognized organization of researchers who track people over the age of 110.

Koch was born May 24, 1897, in the Los Angeles County town of Hynes, which later became part of Paramount. She was 7 when her Swedish mother, Josephina Rosenquist Mallernee, died of whooping cough.

The death left her father, Harrison Mallernee, the sole parent of six young girls. Koch and her sisters were split up for several years. She was 14 when an aunt arranged to reunite them with each other and their father.

Koch studied nursing at Paradise Valley Hospital in San Diego. When she turned 90, she was still helping to tend to fellow residents of St. Helena's Silverado Orchards Retirement Community, where she lived prior to moving to Calistoga Gardens three years ago.

She married John Koch in 1945 in Sacramento, and they lived there for many years. He preceded her in death. In the 1970s, Koch moved to Covelo to be near her sister, Nora, and stayed for nearly 20 years. She moved to Napa County in 1990.

Throughout her life, she loved to garden, bake bread, write letters and play the piano. Baldwin, her granddaughter, said she treasures having been taught by Koch to sing harmony.

Baldwin said her grandmother also adored her family and her God. She was a longtime member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Preceded in death by her five sisters and her children -- Eleanor Bradley, Jean Poncioni and Robert Koch -- Koch is survived by grandchildren Baldwin, Gary Bradley of Riverside and Pam Poncioni and John Koch, both of Sacramento, and her many great- and great-great-grandchildren.

A service has been held. Interment was at St. Helena Cemetery.

You can reach Staff Writer Chris Smith at 521-5211 or [email protected].
111!

By John Waters Jr.
Editor
Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:59 AM PDT

Viola Mallernee Koch knows how to celebrate a birthday. Her secret? Loads of practice. The Calistoga Gardens Nursing Care Center resident has celebrated 111 birthdays, and there are only two people in California who've celebrated more.

For the last several years, the Calistoga Gardens supercentenarian — anyone older than 110 years — has enjoyed the ritual of getting all gussied up on her special day, May 24 — her birthday — but, according to her grand-daughter, Sharon Baldwin, of St. Helena, the camera flashes of last year may have been too much.

"For years she'd get her hair done on her birthday, but this year, she just refused, and she didn't say why," said Viola's granddaughter Sharon Baldwin, of St. Helena. "It was probably getting her picture taken while getting her hair washed last year that did it."

According to Baldwin, Viola is (technically) her step-grandmother. "But she's the only grandma I've ever known, and I grew up very close to her," Baldwin said.

Viola had married Baldwin's grandfather after her biological grandmother passed away. Baldwin, and about 10 other family members, including great-grandson Kerry Baldwin, from Angwin, and three great-great-grandsons, filled a guest conference room and the Calistoga Gardens on Saturday to share memories, stories and a slice of Viola's very favorite lemon meringue pie.

"My earliest memory of great-grandma is smelling the fresh cookies, or the best homemade wheat bread ever, coming from her kitchen," said Kerry Scott Baldwin, 36, of Angwin (see his story below). "I also always remember how kind she was with us, and patient, and never a cross word."

Koch, according to the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, is listed as number 48 among the world's supercentenarians. She is the youngest, or the 29th person aged at least 111, with 111 years and two days to her credit as of May 26. She is the third oldest person living in California, and is a California native daughter. The next 111-year-old ahead of her in age is Japan's Kiku Nishimura, who is 22 days older. There are only 28 people in the world recorded older than Viola, including two in California — Gertrude Baines, 114, and George Francis, 111 years, 355 days.

"She gets so excited," Baldwin said. "Every time she has another birthday she always asks, ‘Why does everyone keep asking me how I lived so long?' and she just tells them it's because she eats right."

At 111, Viola's family, all Seventh-day Adventists, has never eaten meat, and has never consumed any alcohol.

"She says that's part of the reason she things she has lived so long is that she's never eaten meat, always ate healthy food, doesn't eat between meals or drink alcohol, and for desert, always has lemon meringue pie. In fact, instead of a birthday cake, she has, that's right, lemon pie.

What about Viola?

Born on May 24, 1897 — the same year as William Faulkner — in Hynes, near Long Beach, Viola Mallernee was the third of six girls born to Harrison Frederick Mallernee of Iowa and Josephina Rosenquist of Sweden.

Like three of her sisters, Viola graduated from Paradise Valley Hospital in San Diego and was a registered nurse at Portland Sanitarium and Hospital in Oregon for several years. She met and married John Koch of Sacramento, a business teacher at Healds Business College, in 1945.

At age 90 she was still doing special nursing, providing personal attention to the nursing needs of her patients in their own home.

"Another one of the great things I remember about grandma is that she gave the best back rubs and shoulder massages," Baldwin's son, Kerry.

"I remember when I was a teenager, she'd give me foot massages when we visited her at her home," Baldwin said.

Mind your health

Viola always told her grand-daughter to watch what she ate.

"Grandma told me when I was a little girl, that she started eating right about the time she was 40 years old, and that it was not too early for me to start," Baldwin recalled. "She especially told me not to eat too many potato chips, because she knew that was my favorite thing."

Viola and her sisters had survived their mother, who died of whooping cough when Viola was only seven. For a short time the sisters were sent by their father to live with different relatives because taking care of six little girls proved too difficult for him. By the time Viola turned 14, a beloved aunt, Hester, brought them all back together to live with their dad.

Hester introduced Viola to Christianity and the girl became a Seventh-day Adventist.

"Grandma is strictly a vegetarian, and I believe she has never eaten any meat, ever," Baldwin said. "I know I've never seen her."

Baldwin recalls plenty of great times watching her grandma in the kitchen. She learned how to cook by her side.

"Grandma has always been very healthy," Baldwin said. "She's incredibly alert, although (now she's) a little hard of hearing. She still has a great sense of humor, and she takes no medication, at all."

Viola has almost never taken any pills, and once, when she was given a prescription, it made her feel unfit, so she stopped, and has been medication free ever since.

Incredible changes

In her teens, Viola had a boyfriend who used to drive her around Long Beach on a motorcycle equipped with a sidecar, a thrill she rediscovered when a grandson-in-law took her for a ride on his motorcycle when she was in her late 90s, and in an airplane in and out of the small airport in Angwin, according to a nephew, Allen Baldwin.

"She's lived in three different centuries and has seen so many things change," Baldwin said. "She started out in horse and carriage times, and she remembers them well; then electricity, television, people landing on the moon; and now she gets a huge thrill from seeing us walk around with these little cell phones. I let her use mine to talk to someone and she was all smiles."


Third-oldest Californian dies at 111 in Calistoga

By CHRIS SMITH
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 4:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 5:14 a.m.

Viola May Koch, the third-oldest Californian at 111 years and 6 months old, told relatives and friends in and around Calistoga recently that she just wanted to sleep.

"She'd said that for 10 years, so we didn't think much about it," said a granddaughter, Sharon Baldwin of St. Helena.

But last week, Koch, a former nurse who lived for a time in Covelo in Mendocino County, went to sleep and did not wake up. Staffers at Calistoga Gardens in Calistoga found early Nov. 11 that she had died in the night.

As a member of the very select group of human beings who live past 110 years old, Koch was often asked to speak about a life that reached from the late 19th century into the 21st, and to speculate on why she was living so long.

Just this past August, her status as the 44th-oldest person on Earth earned her an interview with Newsweek magazine.

A vegetarian who outlived all three of her children, Koch would offer this advice for living a long and healthy life: "Drink plenty of water, don't eat meat, don't overeat, don't eat between meals, and don't eat desserts -- except for lemon pie."

She left to her four grandchildren and 16 great- and great-great-grandchildren a simple and priceless gift: the diaries in which she briefly recorded the events of virtually every day of her life.

With her death, Petaluma resident Noemi Anderson, who turned 111 on Sept. 28, becomes the third-oldest Californian and the 55th-oldest person on Earth, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

The group is a nationally recognized organization of researchers who track people over the age of 110.

Koch was born May 24, 1897, in the Los Angeles County town of Hynes, which later became part of Paramount. She was 7 when her Swedish mother, Josephina Rosenquist Mallernee, died of whooping cough.

The death left her father, Harrison Mallernee, the sole parent of six young girls. Koch and her sisters were split up for several years. She was 14 when an aunt arranged to reunite them with each other and their father.

Koch studied nursing at Paradise Valley Hospital in San Diego. When she turned 90, she was still helping to tend to fellow residents of St. Helena's Silverado Orchards Retirement Community, where she lived prior to moving to Calistoga Gardens three years ago.

She married John Koch in 1945 in Sacramento, and they lived there for many years. He preceded her in death. In the 1970s, Koch moved to Covelo to be near her sister, Nora, and stayed for nearly 20 years. She moved to Napa County in 1990.

Throughout her life, she loved to garden, bake bread, write letters and play the piano. Baldwin, her granddaughter, said she treasures having been taught by Koch to sing harmony.

Baldwin said her grandmother also adored her family and her God. She was a longtime member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Preceded in death by her five sisters and her children -- Eleanor Bradley, Jean Poncioni and Robert Koch -- Koch is survived by grandchildren Baldwin, Gary Bradley of Riverside and Pam Poncioni and John Koch, both of Sacramento, and her many great- and great-great-grandchildren.

A service has been held. Interment was at St. Helena Cemetery.

You can reach Staff Writer Chris Smith at 521-5211 or [email protected].


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  • Created by: Geraldine
  • Added: Dec 2, 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/31884967/viola_may-koch: accessed ), memorial page for Viola May Mallernee Koch (24 May 1897–11 Nov 2008), Find a Grave Memorial ID 31884967, citing Saint Helena Cemetery, Saint Helena, Napa County, California, USA; Maintained by Geraldine (contributor 46795684).