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‘For me it’s a great world. I have enjoyed my family. I have enjoyed my friends. That’s the most important thing, life. Life and living it. — Nelle Takacs

  Nelle Takacs at 104: ‘Holy cow! I’m getting old!’
  by LEE JUILLERAT, Herald and News 1/2/11


     Ask Nelle Takacs how old she is and she can’t remember.

    Tell her that Monday she’ll turn 104 — yep, 104 — and she yelps, “Holy cow! I’m getting old!”

   Takacs, the oldest resident at the Pelican Pointe Assisted Living & Memory Care Community in Klamath Falls, will   celebrate the milestone Monday afternoon with family, friends, a birthday cake, ice cream and apple cider.

   She moved to Pelican Pointe in August 2008 after living 98 years in and near Tulelake.

   Takacs was born Jan. 3, 1907, in Heartland, Wash. Three years later her parents, Robert and Fannie Mae Cheyne, moved to Tulelake, making the multi-day journey in covered wagons. On an earlier Klamath Basin visit her father and his three brothers had liked what they saw and bought property. Once in the area, the family raised grain and hay to sell and potatoes for their own use. Her father and uncles also traveled the region with a steam-powered threshing machine.

   She spells her first name Nelle — “I took that ‘i’ out,” she explains of her self-styled spelling. “It was kind of oldfashioned.”  

   She met Johnnie Takacs at a dance in Malin in 1925. They were married two years later.

   “We danced all night,” she remembers of that initial meeting.

   In 1935 the Takacs built a house outside of Tulelake, her home until her family moved her to Pelican Pointe two years ago.   “It’s a good place to live and it’s a good place to bring up a family,” she says of Tulelake, noting she and her late husband raised three children: Margaret Ann, Mervin and Johnelle, whose name is a combination of her parents first names.

   “Course they’re all perfect,” Takacs quips of her children, adding with a ticklish laugh, “And no wonder. Look at their parents.”

   Most of her memory is gone, but she still tells about the World War II years when German prisoners of war, who were held at a camp just a few miles from their home, worked their family farm,   usually picking and hauling potatoes. Once, after giving them the keys to the family pickup truck, she received a scolding from camp personnel.

   “That was a bad idea,” she admits. “We got into a lot of trouble.”

   She’s staying out of trouble at Pelican Pointe and, mostly, enjoying herself.

   “For me it’s a great world,” she says. “I have enjoyed my family. I have enjoyed my friends. That’s the most important thing, life. Life and living it.

   “Only,” Takacs adds wistfully, “I wish the years were a little longer.”  

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