Centenarian Bernice Beringer claims hard work is the secret to longevity. On June 17 at Dyersville’s Ellen Kennedy Living Center (EKLC), Beringer celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends. She’s the first resident to reach 100 since EKLC opened 20 years ago. Complete with cake, ice cream, cards, the birthday song and a tiara, Bernice marked this significant milestone in style.

Beringer entered the world in 1922 as Bernice Schlarmann in Earlville right about the time President Warren Harding became the first US president to embrace radio. She’s the last living sibling of nine children. A 41-year marriage to Nick Beringer took her to life in Cascade, farming and raising five children. According to family members, Beringer regularly baked bread, butchered chickens, grew a big garden and canned, while somehow finding time to spend twenty years cooking for Cascade High School.

Beringer is a member of St. Matthias Parish in Cascade. Bonnie Brimeyer of Farley describes her mother as a person whose faith has carried her through hard times, especially the loss of her husband and three children. Beringer prays the rosary daily and spends time regularly in prayer.

One of the top card players at EKLC, her home since 2013, Beringer says yes to most activities and rarely asks for assistance, but is grateful when the need arises. Staff member Lili Peterson feels better when she gets to be Beringer’s Euchre partner, instead of playing against her. During the official welcome of party guests, Peterson described the birthday girl as “a great example of staying active and joyful while aging.”

Wearing a tiara and sash bearing the words “100 & Fabulous”, Beringer seemed elated by the arrival of her granddaughter Heidi Scarbrough, of Greenville, Tex. and several great-grandchildren near the end of her party. Scarborough and other family members, from all over Iowa and beyond, traveled to celebrate Beringer at EKLC and also at a family party June 18, the day Bernice Schlarmann Beringer was born so very long ago.