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Jamestown woman turns 104

Lydia Goodroad

On Friday, Lydia Goodroad received more flowers than she knew what to do with.

“These are all from today, I don’t know what I’ll do with ’em,” she said at her Jamestown home.

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The flowers were gifts, in celebration of Goodroad’s 104th birthday Friday.

Goodroad said her friends and people who care for her in the house where she lives alone threw her a birthday party Friday afternoon.

“I told them I didn’t want the party, but they wanted to so I’m just going to let them,” she said.

She also received many visitors, she said. Goodroad’s husband and two sons have passed away, and her daughter lives in Minnesota and isn’t healthy enough to travel, but after living in Jamestown for most of her 104 years, Goodroad has made many friends in the area.

Goodroad was born in Cleveland, N.D., about 20 miles west of Jamestown.

“Do you know where Cleveland is? The big city,” she joked.

She moved to Jamestown when she was about 20 years old and worked cleaning houses.

“I worked for a lot of nice people in Jamestown. A lot of nice people,” Goodroad said.

Now, Goodroad still sees nice people in Jamestown, she said.

“The girls (who take care of her) are awful nice to me,” Goodroad said. “I couldn’t ask for better girls.

“There’s a lot of nice people that come here and bring my dinners, (from Meals on Wheels),” she added. “I don’t care what church they belong to or nothin’, that’s their business.”

Goodroad said she thinks it’s important to be nice to people, and not to judge people on their private business.

When she doesn’t have people visiting, Goodroad spends a lot of time listening to her radio, staying updated with the news and enjoying music.

“I listen to my radio more than I do my TV,” she said. “I get more from my radio.”

The radio was on as she talked in her living room Friday.

Sometimes Goodroad doesn’t like the news she hears on the radio, she said.

“Every day you pick up your radio and you can hear about someone getting killed over something – it ain’t right,” Goodroad said.

She added that she would always remember she shares a birthday with the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“I can remember that just like yesterday,” she said. “That should have never happened, not in this country.”

Goodroad remembered coming home from work, to the same house she still lives in today, and her son telling her that Kennedy had been shot.

“I don’t care what politics he (Kennedy) was, they didn’t have to do that,” Goodroad said. “He had a family too.”

Goodroad has seen a lot in her 104 years, and when asked the secret of living to be 104, she pointed to the side of her head, referring to her mind, and said:

“If you haven’t got this, you ain’t got nothin’.”

Sun reporter Charly Haley can be reached at 701-952-8455

or by email at

Charly Haley
Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.
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