103-year-old Minnesota woman has played the piano for almost all her life

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Imagine doing something you love for nearly 100 years.

That’s the reality for a woman in Paynesville, Minnesota.

I guess you could say at 103-years-old, Ruth Everson knows the “keys” to a long and happy life.

There’s a certain routine at Stearns Place Assisted Living in Paynesville.

Every day at 11:45 a.m., lunch is served to the residents and with it comes a special treat.

“You meet a lot of people playing the piano. And I’m a people person. I like to be happy,” said Ruth Everson, musician.

Ruth Everson is 103-years-old but her love for the piano began when she was five.

Her dad would use a horse-drawn wagon to take milk cans into Grove City.

He’d drop young Ruth off for a piano lesson while he did business.

Eventually, her parents sold a cow to buy her a piano.

“When she plays the songs that people know. There are big smiles on their faces and you can see that they are enjoying the music that they remember,” said Ken Hanson, Ruth’s son.

What Ruth remembers is playing the piano so much that it became second nature.

From being the first organist at Paynesville Lutheran Church in 1938 to teaching her grandkids and great-grandkids how to play.

“So you could play the piano and give a stern look at your grandchildren if they were too squirrely in church?” said John Lauritsen, WCCO.

“All at the same time,” said Everson.

“Yeah, that’s a lot of talent,” said Lauritsen.

To stay young, she started putting on a daily recital on Monday through Sunday. She even takes requests that she writes down.

“103-years-old,” said Lauritsen.

“Isn’t that amazing? She’s an amazing lady,” said Kathee Martinson, Ruth’s friend. “She’s told me it’s the reason she gets up in the morning. She has something to do and we would be disappointed if she wasn’t here.”

While the audience has changed over the years, the residents here need grandma Ruth as much as she needs them.

She’s become a musician/therapist as she listens to their problems.

When the time comes to say goodbye, Ruth is the one they invite to be by their side.

“People will say they want a certain song played when they are passing away. It makes them happy,” said the 103-year-old musician.

“She’s a very active lady and very sweet. Always has been and always will be,” said Ruth’s friend.

A famous musician once said, “Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it,” which is why Ruth plans to play until she can’t anymore.

“You make people happy and I like to be happy,” said Everson.

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