Meet Our 100 Year Old Residents


Wesley Homes Des Moines currently has a dozen 100+ year old residents.

Wayne Griffen turned 100 last September and has been a resident of Wesley Homes Des Moines for the past 13 years. Wayne is a retired Methodist minister who also worked in real estate for a time. He’s a prize-winning dahlia grower and helps cultivate Wesley Homes Des Moines’ gardens. When asked what his secret was to living to age 100, he mentioned trusting in God and having good genetic health.

There’s not much one can do about their genealogical health, but experts suggest genetics are only one-third of the determining factor for health. Other factors tend to rely more on what a person does during their lifetime. Howard Friedman, a researcher and author of The Longevity Project, has said “persistent, planful people” tend to live longer, and that, while exercise is important, “it’s more about doing what you love.” This is something Wesley’s’ 100+ year old residents have in common.

Another centenarian is Velna Steiner, who has resided at Wesley for 14 years. Velna grew up in Washington State during the depression and, as one might expect, had a tough upbringing because of it. She considers herself fortunate to have married young and have 45 years to happily share with her husband. She attributes her longevity to having lived most her life off of home-grown food. She and her husband cultivated their own victory garden along with a few apple trees. Not only did this provide them with a natural and healthy food source, but it also provided a rewarding sense of self sufficiency.

Velna next to one of her quilts

Velna also recommends working for a cause. She’s exceptionally skilled at quilting and spends most of her time making quilts to donate to charity or philanthropic organizations. In 2016, Velna donated a quilt to Wesley Homes Foundation to help raise funds for the Circle of Concern.

“It’s important to do something that helps people in some way,” said Velna.

In general, her advice for a life well-lived is to “smile, have a sense of humor and a sense of reverence.”

Other advice from Wesley Homes Des Moines’ 100+ year old residents included walking regularly, eating healthy real foods, laughing, smiling and staying busy.

As a 62+ community, Wesley Homes promotes active living with numerous on-campus amenities, such as fitness rooms, game rooms, arts and crafts, fitness classes, planned outings, hiking groups and scenic van rides.

“If anything,” Wayne says, “just forget your age and just go on living.”

Centenarians at Wesley Homes Des Moines:

  • Gladys Swope, 105
  • Velna Steiner, 102
  • Marjorie Rudy, 100
  • Wayne Griffen, 100
  • Amy Parker, 100
  • Carolyn Angle, 102
  • Helen Bergquist, 102
  • Marvel Fagan, 102
  • Doris Linkletter, 103
  • Marjorie Rudy, 100
  • Clayton Evans, 100
  • Amy Parker, 100
  • Mary Bruce (turning a hundred later this month!)