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Monroe woman celebrates 105th birthday with family
Edna Schuetz, 104, sits near her three daughters Renee Pesavento, Marlea Steiner and Aleda McArdle, left to right, while celebrating her 105th birthday a month early, due to her daughters being in Monroe, at Rachael's Choice assisted living March 11. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
MONROE - A Monroe woman will celebrate her 105th birthday on April 15, but her daughters commemorated the milestone Tuesday while visiting their mother in Monroe.

Edna Schuetz, 104, is cared for at Rachael's Choice assisted living in Monroe along with three other residents. She has three daughters, Marlea Steiner, Renee Pesavento and Aleda McArdle. Steiner talked about how their mother taught her girls to be strong and independent. She said education was always important to Schuetz.

"She got a college degree in South Dakota in business," Steiner said. "She wanted us all to get an education and care for ourselves."

She said her dad, Bill, didn't share the same thought.

"He thought girls got out of high school and then got married," Steiner said.

Her daughters said Schuetz worked as an accountant and bookkeeper for most of her life, only taking time off to raise them. Schuetz lived on a farm in South Dakota after her parents emigrated from Switzerland. Aleda McArdle said her mother can still understand the Swiss language but does not speak it so well anymore. Schuetz moved to Green County in the 1940s after she married her husband Bill.

Steiner said her mother used to love tending a garden, playing cards and was a member of a homemakers organization for at least 50 years. The organization was a group workshop that taught skills in community and house care. Renee Pesavento said Schuetz also enjoyed fishing.

"One time she caught a record Crappie and didn't even know it," Pesavento said. "They just took it home and ate it."

She said her husband looked up the record for Wisconsin and the fish would have been a state record.

Pesavento said she attributes her mother's longevity to the quality food on the farm and "never sitting." She said her mother hardly ever sat still, and kept many hobbies.

Steiner said her mother moved into the home in her late 90s because she was having vision problems, but up until then, Schuetz had been active and was still driving.

"When we moved her here in July she said, "I wonder if there will be anybody older than me,' and then she paused for a beat and said, "Oh wait, I don't know anybody older than me,'" Steiner said.

All the daughters agree their mother has held on to her sense of humor over the years.

"On my 39th birthday she told her granddaughter, who was about six at the time that, "Hey now, we're the same age Marlea,'" Steiner said. "And then my 6-year-old said, "No Grandma, you can't be 39, too' - so Mom says, "Oh well, then I must be 41,' and that was just fine by my 6-year-old."

The daughters said they try to visit every Christmas, Mother's Day or on Schuetz's birthday.

"Now she'll tell you how old she is, but every year she would tell us she was 39," Steiner said.