Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
OSWEGO, NY – 1912, a memorable year: The luxury liner Titanic made its maiden, and only voyage, New Mexico and Arizona became states, the Boston Red Sox opened Fenway Park, stamps were 2 cents, and Hugo and Amalie Ruttkamp welcomed their only daughter, Amelia, into the world.
On February 20, Amelia celebrated a rare milestone, her 100th birthday.
Born in Philadelphia, Pa., to German immigrants, Amelia grew up on Long Island where she enjoyed a quiet childhood and was a voracious reader. Her appetite for reading and knowledge served her well as she received a degree from Brown Business School on Long Island.
Upon graduation Amelia began a career as a secretary and eventually met, and married, Bernard Winkler. The two moved to Jamaica, Long Island, where Bernard opened a dry cleaning business and began raising a family that included three children: Ruth, Doris and Edward.
A proud homemaker, Amelia enjoyed caring for her family and kept a number of German traditions alive.
“Grandma loved to cook and bake; and we always looked forward to the traditional foods that she would make for us: Rouladen, a rolled meat; Spatzle, homemade noodles; and Stollen, a Christmas bread,” said Amelia’s granddaughter, Alicia Archer.
In 1956 Bernard and Amelia choose to leave the city life and head to upstate New York to begin a new chapter in their lives.
Their daughter, Ruth Weaver remembers.
“It was quite a surprise when mom and dad decided to move upstate and become chicken farmers! It was a rather drastic lifestyle change, but they enjoyed the peaceful countryside of Cobleskill. My mother happily supported her husband in everything he did. Her ability to adapt and her commitment to family is admirable,” said Weaver.
In 2000, Alicia and her husband, Tim Archer, helped Bernard and Amelia relocate to Fulton so that they may be closer to their family.
Before her husband’s passing in 2004, Amelia moved in 2002 to St. Luke Nursing Home where she still resides today.
Tim and Alicia’s children, Annaliese, 10 and Nathaniel, 9, love spending time with their great-grandmother and Amelia looks forward to their visits.
“I like talking with her and she always has cookies for us,” said Nathaniel.
Among Annaliese and Nathaniel’s favorite memories is when Amelia visited them while they were camping at Yogi Bear Jellystone Park in Mexico.
“It was fun to have her with us. I like being with her.” said Annaliese.
“I can’t believe she’s 100!” added Nathaniel.
With family and friends gathered around her in the community room at St. Luke Nursing Home, Amelia Winkler; impeccably dressed in a white blouse and a blue plaid jacket, a new hairdo, complete with tiara, and a corsage, beamed as she cut her birthday cake and visited with well-wishers.
“She is an amazing woman,” said Alicia Archer’s husband, Tim. “Her love of family and positive spirit is inspiring.”
A mother of three, a grandmother of six and a great-grandmother of 15, Amelia has, and continues to lead a life filled with happiness and precious memories.
When asked for her thoughts on celebrating 100 years, Amelia said the cake is delicious and wished family members well.
“I hope the rest of my family will live to this age as well,” she said.