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Caring Circle Celebrates 109-Year-Old Patient
Sep 23, 2016 Share

(ST. JOSEPH) – In honor of National Centenarian’s Day, observed annually on September 22 to recognize those who are 100 years of age or older, Caring Circle, a Lakeland Health Affiliate, hosted a celebratory event for 109-year-old Herbert Engle of Berrien Springs. Engle is believed to be the oldest man living in Michigan.

He was born in Russia in 1907 and immigrated to Chicago in 1928 where he worked at Western Electric Manufacturing Company for five years. His family then relocated to Berrien Springs where Engle still resides in the farmhouse that originally belonged to his parents. Engle earned a degree in engineering from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania through a college-by-mail program. He went on to work at Whirlpool for over 40 years helping to create many of the original household appliances we know today. 

The father of six children, all of whom are still alive today, Engle currently resides with his caregiver and daughter Esther, 83. Charsie Nealey, RN, BSN, a nurse at Caring Circle, began visiting the family’s home in March of 2016 and continues to provide assistance with medications, medical assessments, and social interaction.

“At Caring Circle we focus on providing quality of life for all patients – whatever that may look like to them,” said Nealey. “Aside from medical care we also serve as a support system for both patients and caregivers. We are there to listen to them and provide a social interaction they may not otherwise get. After being alive for over a century these patients are a living link to our history and have so much wisdom to share.”

In addition to Engle, Caring Circle provides care for a number of centenarian patients throughout Berrien County including, Lola Rockwell, 100, of Berrien Springs; Joseph Menser, 103, who resides at the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center; and Viola Bomke, 107, of Benton Harbor, among others.

When asked about her longevity, Rockwell states, “Having a large extended family, knowing your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, and having that love helps you live a long and happy life.” When asked about enjoying life Menser states: “You don’t have to leave the country to see amazing things. You can stay right here at home and see everything you want to see.” Viola shared beautiful stories of a simpler time growing up when you walked most places, the roads were all dirt, the fields were plowed by horses, and the closest stream was not only the household’s main source of fresh water, but also where you’d store your milk and butter to keep it cold. 

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Photo Caption:
Top Row L to R: Scott Brown, Spiritual Care Coordinator and Stephanie Kostizen, Medical Social Worker; Bottom Row L to R: Charsie Nealey, RN, BSN, Case Manager; Herbert Engle; and Esther Engle

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