Des Moines Woman Rides Harley To Celebrate 105th Birthday
Faith Callahan is known to many Des Moines residents as a lively â€“ and outspoken â€“ advocate for saving the Mt. Rainier Pool, where she regularly participates in water aerobics. So no one will be surprised if thereâ€™s a big turnout for a party in her honor at Wesley Terrace on Saturday, Oct. 24, when Faith celebrates her 105th birthday.
But Faith already has enjoyed an early birthday present â€“ a long wished-for ride on a Harley-Davidson 100th anniversary Heritage SoftailÂ® Classic motorcycle. The legendary American motorcycle manufacturer produced its first model just one year before she was born.
â€œI liked it very much,â€ she says of the ride around the Wesley Terrace parking area, â€œexcept I could just barely reach around Bill (Larson, who took her for the ride on his motorcycle) because he was in his leathers. When he asked me if I wanted to ride some more, I said â€˜no.â€™ There will be a big birthday party in a month and I didnâ€™t want to be thrown off before then.â€
But, adds Faith, â€œIt was a very smooth ride.â€
She was born Oct. 22, 1904, in Milbank, S.D., and grew up near Wichita, Kansas, the daughter of a Methodist minister who normally made his rounds visiting parishioners with a horse and buggy. In 1910, her father bought a motorcycle to make his calls, but eventually went back to the horse and buggy because it conveyed a â€œbetter messageâ€ for a pastor.
Faith is a 16-year client of Larson, who does business as William C. Larson Financial Advisor in West Seattle. On her 103rd birthday, Larson recalls, â€œI told her about this motorcycle and she said, â€œIâ€™d love to see it.â€™ I said, â€˜Iâ€™ll come by and show it to you. Maybe weâ€™ll take a ride on it.â€™â€
But while he saw Faith again on her 104th birthday, they didnâ€™t go for a ride, â€œso I made sure that we did it this year, and Glenda (his wife) and I saw her on Sept. 1,â€ he says.
Faith â€œis a very giving person, and always has a smile,â€ he adds.
Her answer to the inevitable question, â€œWhat is your secret to a long life?â€ is simple. â€œExercise [these days the water aerobics] and eating normally,â€ Faith says. Genes played a role, too. â€œMy parents lived very long lives, and I have always been fairly healthy.â€
Faith lives at Wesley Homes with her daughter and son-in-law, Blythe and Ed Stanton.