3 Sisters Celebrate Reaching 100th Birthday
After 100 years, Frances Kompus is still trying to catch up with her big sisters.
Kompus celebrated her 100th birthday on Nov. 11. Helping celebrate were her sisters Julia Kopriva, who turned 104 earlier in November, and Lucy Pochop, who had her 102nd birthday in June…
Their grandparents immigrated from Czechoslovakia and became farmers in Rawlins County. They had no brothers, so the three girls would work the farm for their parents.
Overall, about 50 people joined Kompus at the party at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in her northwest Kansas town of Atwood. It’s the same church where they were baptized and confirmed, and where each was married over the years…
Rosalie Ross, editor of the Rawlins County Square Deal newspaper in Atwood, has interviewed and written about each of the sisters as they have hit milestones over the years. Ross said Kompus told her, “Well, we didn’t ever eat fancy, but we ate good food…”
One story told to her by Julia Kopriva stood out, Ross said. When Julia was in first grade, she couldn’t be in the school play because they couldn’t understand her – the family spoke Czech at home. But by the end of the year, Julia had learned English and had taught her sisters and parents how to speak English, too.
“So you’ve got a determined little kid (who said), ‘This ain’t happening any more,'” Ross said…
Perhaps the biggest change in their lives came when the 1936 passage of the Rural Electrification Act eventually brought electricity to their farm, Ross said. “Then they could have freezers, refrigerators and small appliances, yard lights and electricity to read by,” she said.
Even though the sisters have always been close, the time they spent together grew as each became widows and moved into adjoining apartments in Atwood, said Kompus’ daughter Fran Allacher, who lives in nearby McCook, Nebraska. Each of the sisters had children and are grandmothers. Kompus and Kopriva are great-great grandmothers, too.
After Lucy moved into an apartment next to Julia in 2000, “it was nothing for them to play cards every night of the week, and dominoes – that was their thing,” Allacher said. “They just got together and they’ve been their support for each other, forever…”
In motherhood, they would call one another two or three times a day, said her daughter Valyne Pochop, who lives in St. Joseph, Missouri. “We always had family holiday celebrations with the aunts and uncles and cousins and, of course, Grandpa and Grandma when they were alive. They’ve always been very close,” she said.
They were so close they were known as “The Three Musketeers,” Pochop said. “They’ve always been involved in each other’s lives. That’s just pretty amazing.”
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(Excerpt from USA Today. Photo Credit: USA Today)
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