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’43 grad honored as Lehigh’s oldest alum

Staff writer

Looking much younger than her age, 92-year-old Irma Duerksen Groening received a gift basket Sunday as the oldest alumnus present at the Lehigh High School biannual reunion in Hillsboro.

Irma is one of two survivors of the class of 1943.

She married another Lehigh alumnus, Howard Groening, in 1946. They moved to a farm north of Marion five years later, where they raised two sons — Gordon and Jerry.

After her sons were school age, Groening took a job finishing woodwork in houses.

“It was a funny job because it wasn’t a woman’s job,” she said. “But I always made sure I was home when the boys came home from school.”

The Groenings moved to Hillsboro in 1988, when Gordon took over the family farm.

Howard died in 1996. Irma still lives in her home and is a grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother.

She keeps busy working at the Et Cetera Shop three days a week.

“We have a lot of fun,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done. You have to adjust because life changes.”

Last modified June 1, 2017

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