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Local News

Glen Ellyn resident celebrates 100th birthday

Lillian Ranta poses with a cake baked in honor of her 100th birthday, which was Tuesday. She said the secret to her longevity was "eating cake."
Lillian Ranta poses with a cake baked in honor of her 100th birthday, which was Tuesday. She said the secret to her longevity was "eating cake."

​GLEN ELLYN – Attendees at ESSE Adult Daycare got a special treat Tuesday when they wished Lillian Ranta a happy 100th birthday.

She celebrated with a small party that included cake, fruit and a cheese platter.

Ranta didn't have any secrets to her longevity, other than "eating cake." She likes playing bingo in her spare time.

"That's something I still enjoy," she said.

ESSE Program Manager Terre Fulmer said Ranta is very aware of what's going on and recognizes when people are absent.

"She is so sharp for a person who is 100 years old," Fulmer said.

She added that Ranta is friendly, loving, entertaining and full of stories about being raised on a farm.

Ranta was born July 22, 1914, in Cromwell, Minn. She grew up without electricity, indoor plumbing or telephones, according to her family. She left home at 19 and went to work in Hollywood for six months before returning and moving to Waukegan, where she made her living as a cook and housekeeper.

She married Ray Ranta on Sept. 3, 1939. Ray died in 1997. Lillian Ranta has a son, Charlie, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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What happened the year Lillian Ranta was born?

• Joe DiMaggio, Hedy Lamarr and Harry Caray were all born in 1914.

• Charlie Chaplin made his film debut Feb. 2.

• The first successful blood transfusion took place March 27 in Brussels.

• The Boston Marathon was run for the 18th time.

• Babe Ruth played his first professional baseball game for the Boston Red Sox on April 22.

• One month before Lillian Ranta was born, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo. The event would serve as a catalyst for World War I.

• The Panama Canal opened Aug. 15.

• The Federal Trade Commission was formed Sept. 26.

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