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Oshkosh family requests birthday cards for one of the oldest COVID-19 survivors

Local News

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) One of the oldest U.S. citizens to survive COVID-19 lives right here in Wisconsin, and for Ruth Stryzewski’s birthday on February 20th, her family would like the public to send her a birthday card.

Dave Misterek, Ruth’s nephew says, “The amazing thing with Aunt Esther is that at 108 years old. She is now a survivor of COVID-19.”

Ruth Stryzewski, affectionately know as Aunt Esther, is quite a remarkable woman not only because she’s the oldest resident at Park View Health Center in Oshkosh.

In a Zoom interview, Ingrid Garrison, Ruth’s activities specialist at Park View, has asked, “How did you get to 108. We want to all know about that?” Ruth responded, “I have no idea.”

Garrison says, “Ruth has had a couple of visits with myself down in the COVID unit when she was down there for a couple of days. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ruth for almost nine years.”

This isn’t the first health crisis Ruth has survived. She’s also lived through the Spanish flu.

Dave says surviving the Spanish flu wasn’t as difficult because Ruth was a child and distancing was a part of rural life.

Ruth Stryzewski may be one of the oldest COVID-19 survivors in the United States at 108.
So, for her birthday on February 20th, she would like a card.

Ruth has lived in Wisconsin all her life. Her parents were farmers and in 1912, Ruth was born into a family of nine children in Waushara County.

Misterek says, “They didn’t live in a big city so they didn’t have to really have to avoid people.”

Now that most of Ruth’s family has passed on, distancing during COVID-19 is tough.

Misterek says, “It’s very difficult for her to be without daily visits and communication with her friends.”

But a healthy dose of family, friends, and life’s pleasures help to give Ruth brawn to celebrate her birthday next month.

Dave Misterek, Ruth’s nephew says,”We have tried to discuss that with her and luckily I think at when that occurred she was a young child. Ruth is my aunt. She was born in 1912. She married Elmer in Oshkosh many years ago. They spent a lot of their married life traveling because they didn’t have children.”

So Ruth’s nephew, Dave, is like her son and it’s the memories of her only nephew that add to Ruth’s longevity.

Misterek says, “We visited with her this week and she told the story of remembering me as a five-year-old little boy coming over and ringing their door bell and they’d open the door and I’d say, ‘can I come in?”

Ruth recounts, “I said well come in and I started taking care of him. He was my best friend. He still is.”

Garrison says, “Every Sunday prior to COVID, her nephew, Dave would come and their favorite pastime was to have cheese popcorn. Also, Ruth loves her cranberry juice. That’s one of her favorite afternoon beverages.”

Misterek says, “So being 108 years old and being a survivor of the virus is something that we tend to celebrate and it’s just amazing to all of us.

Ruth’s birthday is on February 20th and birthday cards should be sent to:

Park View Health Center

c/o Ingrid Garrison

725 Butler Avenue

Oshkosh, WI 54901

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