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A tight-knit group of church ladies

Neighbors (left to right) Burnice Geroy, Bernice Farber, Geri Irwin and Grace Hughes have been meeting as part of the Leslie Community Ladies Aid group for most of their lives. Two of the group members celebrate their 100th birthdays in 2017. (Tayor Lunemann | Long Prairie Leader)

Nearly everyone has experienced friends who come and go into their lives. There are many reasons. People grow older, move away, or simply lose touch with each other. But for one group of ladies, that hasn't been the case.

Geri Irwin, Bernice Farber, Grace Hughes, and Burnice Geroy have been fortunate to come into each others' lives, and stick around for the long haul.

The four were all neighbors within a one-mile radius of each other just off County Road 10 near Lake Osakis years ago, and it helped that they all joined the Leslie Community Ladies Aid group at the church near their homes.

Their Ladies Aid group was founded in 1900 for the purpose of developing Christian fellowship among the women of the congregation. The group's purpose is essentially to work with the church to keep it running smoothly. Some of that work includes: mission work, cleaning the building a couple times a year, aiding the church financially and spiritually, and training toward leadership.

Irwin and Farber will be celebrating their 100th birthdays in 2017, Hughes will turn 98, and Geroy is the young one of the bunch at 95-years-young.

The tight-knit group each have their own favorite memories of the group from over the years. Hughes, who joined the group with her mother-in-law in 1939, and has served as president for 30 of her years, said her favorite part is getting to visit with and see all her neighbors.

Irwin added that her favorite part was getting all of their families together. "This is special," she said. "We have a lot in common and our kids grew up together."

Farber's favorite part of the group is the singing and being with friends. She also recalled getting their families together.

"Living in the country with our neighbors and having our kids grow up together was special," she said. "We used to go to the lake and sit on the shore while our kids went swimming. We had some good times out there."

At their most recent meeting, which is held on the last Tuesday of each month, the group met in the community room of the Prairie View 400 apartment building in Long Prairie. They spent their time singing and visiting, and enjoyed a meal afterward.

While the days of cleaning their houses from top to bottom in preparation for their meetings may be over, the ladies don't plan on quitting the group anytime soon, despite Hughes being the lone resident remaining in their old neighborhood.

"It's just been a good Ladies Aid group," Farber concluded.