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Woman celebrates 100th birthday with socially distanced celebration

Born during one pandemic, Dorothy Steuerwald is celebrating her 100th birthday during another one.

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman marked a very special milestone Monday.

Dorothy Steuerwald turned 100 years old on Sept. 28. When she was born in 1920, the Spanish Flu pandemic was just coming to an end.

"It's amazing to me that she was born almost in one pandemic and now she is living through another," said her daughter, Jane Fouts.

"She fell in love with our dad, he went into the Army. They stayed in complete contact. She even took a train out to California to see him," said Robin Stahl, Steuerwald's youngest daughter.

Fouts described her mother as "supportive."

"Mom has been this solid rock. Very quiet, very thoughtful," Stahl said.

"She's always been very active. If Robin and I were taking an aerobics class at Warren, mom came too," said Fouts.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started in March, Steuerwald's daughters had to visit with their mother through the glass doors of her assisted living facility.

"I cried. The first day, I just cried. I just wasn't prepared," Stahl said.

But through it all, Steuerwald has stayed healthy, quietly persisting, just as she's done her entire life.

"Just live every day as it comes," she said.

Steuerwald's home at the Arlington Place Health Campus held a socially distanced party for her big day, encouraging everyone to dress up and decorate their cars, then drive by the front entrance to the facility Monday morning.