A great-great grandmother is celebrating her 104th birthday in northwest Iowa this weekend, and she's still going strong.
She says, that's all thanks to her roots.
KDLT's Allison Royal sat down with the birthday girl to learn her secrets to a long, happy life.
When asked what's the best part about being 104? Zita Thiele said "I don't know I have to say I've never been there before."
As Zita Thiele grows another year older, her world keeps getting bigger.
She has 48 great-grand children and six great-great grandchildren, with two more on the way.
"What's it like to see your family grow over the years? I think oh my gosh, what did I do?" says Zita "People are missing out a lot now that they don't have that anymore. You know big family gatherings and things. The family was together."
At 104, Zita lives on her own and is plenty busy. She plays cards with her friends every day, knits, bakes, reads, and loves a good crossword.
Zita was born in 1914 and hasn't slowed down ever since. She didn't retire until she was 82 and drove until she was 100. She's seen society change with her.
"I grew up in the horse and buggy days." remembers Zita. "When we had those dust storms, that was terrible."
And her picture-perfect memory makes her a human history book. "She can recall when someone was born, or when they were married and what the weather was that day." says Zita's nephew, Gary Trei
There is a price to pay when you live such a long life. Zita has outlived three of her seven children.
"And we've had a lot of tragic things as far as that goes in our family but when you have a large family, you're going to have that stuff."
While Zita has enough family and stories to fill scrapbooks, she says the past is the past.
"One time she told me 'I don't worry about things. Things are going to happen and you do with them and that's kind of been the way she's gone through life." Zita says "Whatever happens that day, no use in looking backwards."
Zita keeps shining like a candle on a birthday cake.