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90-year-old brothers meet in Beatrice to celebrate birthday

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Larsen Birthday

Wayne Larsen (Right) celebrates his 95th birthday with his brothers, Marvin (Middle) and Ralph (Left). The three gathered at the Homestead House in Beatrice alongside other members of the family.

The Larsen brothers have almost three centuries of life between them.

On Tuesday they gathered to celebrate the 95th birthday of Wayne, the middle brother. Marvin, 97, and Ralph, 92, came to see Wayne in Beatrice’s Homestead House, an assisted living community. Their 85-year-old sister, Ruby Hardin, also joined in the celebration.

Wayne, Ralph and Marvin had no secret for longevity to share. Ralph said it was a matter of inheritance.

“It’s just the genes, I guess,” Ralph said. “Mom was 97 when she passed away … and Dad was 92. Her sister was 99 and another was 101 when she passed away.”

The trio trace their ancestral roots to the French LePoidevin family, who settled in the area in pursuit of their 160 acres under the Homestead Act. The LePoidevin name died with a slate of daughters, one of them being the Larsen brothers’ mother. The Larsen side hailed from Denmark.

Their father worked the land before technology made farming with horses obsolete. The brothers recall plough-bound horses combing open fields into rows.

Wayne followed in his father’s footsteps and became a farmer after working for time at Store Kraft. He farmed land and cattle southeast of Beatrice and came to own his first tractor during World War II.

“Things were hard to come by during World War II,” Linda Larsen, Wayne’s daughter said. “The first tractor he bought, he bought it on the black market so to speak. If you wanted one, that’s how you got it.”

The world of agriculture churned with technology, pulling Wayne from one tractor to the next. But Linda said he never lost touch with the land or the cattle.

“Farming was his life. He thrived on that his whole life,” she said. “He kept up that work until he was 88, and that’s part of the reason he’s 95. He loved his work his whole life.”

Even after getting a home in town late in his life, a usual sign of retirement for a farmer, he returned day in and day out to his land. Slowly, he eased out of work, but he was still climbing up old grain bins—the ones with sheer metal ladders—into his late 80s.

Ralph, who lives in Beatrice, worked in banking, rising to the top of the bank in Liberty. He said he remembers the first light of electricity flickering into his house his freshman year of high school.

Marvin, who lives in Auburn and is the eldest of the brothers, graduated from Beatrice High School in 1942. Soon after, he joined the Navy and fought in World War II. Marvin worked as a farmer and then in soil conservation for most of his life.

Linda Larsen, Wayne’s daughter, said the brothers share another astonishing thing in common.

“They have all been married for 70 years or longer,” she said.

Wayne and Marvin’s wives have died, but those marriages started in the late 1940s.

The Larsen brothers said they were happy to come together. They said they’ve gotten along in all the years for the most part.

Linda said she was happy the family was able to get together.

“We’re just grateful. It was such a good time,” she said. “They’ve been blessed. Our whole family has been blessed.”

Wayne beamed at his celebration. He said he looks forward to another year.

“I still got pretty good health,” Wayne said. “It’s not much different than any other age, I guess.”


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