Grafton woman hits another milestone, celebrates 110th birthday


As residents in Grafton head to the polls today, a special woman in the county seat of Walsh County is celebrating a milestone birthday.

With a plaque signed by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Clarabell Demers turns 110 years old today. She is the third oldest living North Dakotan, and the oldest living in the City of Grafton. Sitting in her Grafton home, Demers will celebrate her 110th birthday amidst a pandemic.

"Clarabell is the epitome of the old saying that age is just a number," Lutheran Sunset Home Administrator Trevor Tompkins said Tuesday morning. "Her energy shames people half her age. She is truly an inspiration to everybody on how to age gracefully."

Up until a couple of years ago, Demers remained active in the Grafton community through a weekly bowling league at the local bowling alley. But today, she will celebrate with a COVID-safe party -- fit for a queen like herself.

"I feel so truly blessed to have her with us still and just love any time I spend with her," Clarabell's granddaughter Leanne Campbell tells WZFG News. "She always brightens my days."

While the past several months have been "very challenging" due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and albeit lonely at times, the family continues to try make the best of the situation--as does Demers.

"Her family is the most important thing to her," Campbell says. "So we each do what we can to visit, FaceTime, send cards. Just to let her know she isn't forgotten."

While the pandemic continues, there is one thing her family hopes for -- an improvement in the pandemic, so the family can enjoy "normal" visits with her once again.

Today's celebration will be capped off with a parade around the Lutheran Sunset Home at approximately 4:40 p.m., with the Grafton Police Department, Valley Ambulance and Rescue Service -- and Clarabell's loved ones, both family and friends -- all taking part.