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After renewing his driver’s license, Grindvold set to mark 100th birthday

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HARTINGTON — John Grindvold’s birthday won’t be just another day.

The retired Hartington farmer will turn 100 on Monday.

“It’s just another day,” John Grindvold said at first. After a little reflection, though, he admitted it is kind of neat. 

“It’s special. I’ve been blessed,” he said.

Grindvold credits a healthy lifestyle for his longevity.

“A healthy lifestyle has always been a part of my life. I never drink or smoke. My parents taught me that. They were good, Christian people. My dad did smoke, but they lived an overall clean lifestyle,” he said.

Even though he will soon hit the century mark, Grindvold is not slowing down.

He recently renewed his driver’s license for another five-year run and told the people at the Department of Motor Vehicles, “see you when I am 105,” according to his son Marv Grindvold.

“He told them, ‘see you when I am 100,’ the last time,” Marv said. “I trust him to drive anywhere. He takes it easy, but he never did speed.”

John’s son also said his father has seen it all, going from farming with horses to using GPS on a combine.

John did it all the right way.

“I can’t have a better father,” Marv said. “He is very kind and loving. He never told us kids how to live our lives. He never tries to push his values onto anyone else. He would do anything for anybody. He takes pride in the fact he never smoked or drank. He doesn’t sit down for very long – he keeps going. 

“He’s doing really good.”

John keeps busy by taking on special projects. A couple of his more recent woodworking projects include a cabinet and a replica of a church from Norway.

“He works pretty fast for his age,” Marv said. “He’s very particular and if it’s not perfect, he tears it apart and starts over.

A few years ago, Grindvold restored the single row cultivator he had used when he was a kid growing up on a farm northwest of Hartington. 

Grindvold would sit on the metal seat while a team of two horses pulled the cultivator down the row of corn.  

Johns’s dad, Ludvig Grindvold, purchased the cultivator for his son in the early 1930s.

“I was 11 years old when dad bought the cultivator for me. I was so excited,” Grindvold said. “He got it so I could help with the work. It is built so a younger person can run it. The wheels are lower so when I was sitting on the cultivator seat, the dirt would not be blowing up in my face.”

Back in the early 1930s, Grindvold’s dad did have a small tractor for some of the farming but he liked to use horses to do the cultivating.

The “New Century” leverless, No. 3 single row cultivator was manufactured in 1930 by the Roderick Lean Co. in Mansfield, Ohio.

Besides his projects, John has always liked to travel, too.

John and his wife, Elvira, who died seven years ago after 68 years of marriage, traveled to Norway six times over the years to visit his roots and the home of his parents.

“We traveled the United States, too,” John said. “We liked Circle, Mont. We have family up there.”


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