Martha Juuti and Mary Ellsworth are twins that have remained virtually inseparable their entire lives. They have lived in the Bentley area and stayed in very close proximity of each other – almost as one. Together they just surpassed their 99th year when they quietly celebrated their birthdays together on January 31 at the Bentley Care Centre.
On February 2 a 99th birthday party, hosted by the family in their honor in the care centre dining room, was well attended by family, some coming from British Columbia, as well as old time friends.
Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to Martha first as she is the eldest of the two, and then they sang it for Mary, and both had identical black forest birthday cakes, which along with ice cream, were shared with the guests.
There were photo opportunities for the families and at one point a chance to get a picture of five generations. In the five generations picture were Martha Juuti, her oldest son Richard (aka Dick) Juuti who is married to Carmen, their oldest daughter (Martha’s grand-daughter), Shelley Olin who is married to Merle, their oldest son (Martha’s great grand-son), Riley Olin who is with Leah, and their first-born (Martha’s great-great-grand-son), six-month-old Tell.
The twins, Martha and Mary Skjonsberg were born on January 31, 1915, the eleventh and twelfth children out of 13 born to Hans and Helga Skjonsberg.
Martha married Carl Juuti in 1936. They had six children.
Mary was married to Glen Ellsworth in 1937. They had no children.
The twins both first lived on farms in the area. They both eventually moved into Bentley – Mary with her husband Glen into their own house in 1974 and Martha and Carl in 1976 into Valley View Apartments in Bentley and in 1982 into Westview Apartments.
Both lived in Bentley until 2002 when both moved to a lodge in Lacombe after having lost their husbands.
They were separated for a while; one residing in Lacombe and one in Bentley, until both were moved into the Bentley Care Centre.
In past years they could be seen walking down town in Bentley daily and they enjoyed shopping trips to Red Deer on Thursdays, usually dressed in identical outfits. Unless you knew them very well you couldn’t tell them apart.
Happy ninety-ninth birthday, Martha and Mary!
Next year both the twins and the town of Bentley will be celebrating their 100-year birthdays.