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Centennial woman

Regina Borsik Kloepfer on her wedding day in 1930.
Rae Kloepfer as she appears today.

By JOHN SERFUSTINI
Sun Advocate associate editor

Regina (Rae) Borsik Kloepfer and the City of Price have something in common: both turn 100 years old this year.

Rae was born Oct. 22, 1911 in Omaha, Neb., to Peter and Julia Borsik. Both parents were of Polish descent. She was the third of five children and has outlived all her siblings.

Rae grew up in a Polish neighborhood and recalls have to walk the legendary two miles to attend Catholic school. She can still remember the names of the nuns who taught her.

She then moved to Chicago to live with friends and decided to follow in her sister Katherine's footsteps and go into nursing. But she met William (Bill) Kloepfer, who would become her future husband.

Rae and Bill lived in Chicago at a great - but often not so great - time. It was the "Roaring 20s" and they were part of it. She recalls having a great time dancing at the Aragon Ballroom to all the famous bands, including Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller and guy Lombardo. Rae remembers bath tub gin, flapper girls, speakeasies and the Great Depression.

Rae and Bill were married in 1930 in Chicago at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. Bill drove a wagon pulled by two horses and delivered ice for ice boxes and speakeasies, some owned by Al Capone.

They had two children, Matt, born in 1932 and Karen, born in 1941. In 1945 the family packed up and followed Rae's sister Katherine to Helper. Bill found work first for the railroad and then at the Kenilworth and Castle Gate mines, where he worked as a self-taught hydraulics mechanic.

Rae worked at Nolan's Corner Store, sold Tupperware and later worked at the Helper Museum. They lived for a short time in Moab, moving there for work.

She and Bill were always active in the Catholic Church. In 1980 they received a papal blessing from Pope John Paul II on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.

Friends remember her as being a fantastic seamstress. She made clothes for her daughter and later sewed for her grand-daughters. Rae and Bill loved to play bridge and played in several clubs. She played the game until she was 99 years old.

In 1983, at the age of 74, Bill passed away from colon cancer. For several years after than Rae traveled extensively with lady friends and saw many of the western states in a program associated with the College of Eastern Utah.

Rae now has two children, seven grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great-grandchildren.

She remembers the "good old days," past friends and family, the Great Depression, where she was when Pearl Harbor was attacked, their first car, all the presidents of her time (William Howard Taft was the first one), and learning to drive at age 50.

In 2010, she fell and broke her hip. But even at age 98, being a tough Polish lady, she walked out of the hospital with a walker. She still uses the walker sometimes.

Rae has resided at the Heirloom Inn in Price for the past eight years, where she continues to enjoy life.

Her secret to longevity: "Don't worry about the piddly small stuff!"




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