Barbara Van Tol has now bowled up to her 100th birthday.
The Ripon woman reached the century mark last week. She gave up her driver’s license in 1989 after serving as a nurse’s aide at Bethany Home for 30 years.
Van Tol is a Gold Star Mother, having lost her youngest in Vietnam soon after he visited his family over a past Christmas holiday. Her remaining children are Jon and Lee Van Tol and Fonda Poot. A native of Rock Rapids, Iowa, she and her late husband moved to California in 1960 hoping they could better support themselves in a non-farming environment.
He found work at DeBoer trucking in Ripon where he remained until he retired. It was quite a contrast to their farm where they cared for cows, raised row crops of soy beans, corn and alfalfa on 160 acres.
While Van Tol worked as a nurse’s aide, her family members recalled she also substituted in the facility’s kitchen, commenting that things were much different years ago. Her daughter-in-law Linda said this that her mother-in-law lived for her Sundays and Thursdays — one was for church and the other was for her bowling fun.
She added that Van Tol always remembers her grand kids and great grand kids on their special days. She also continues to cook dinner for herself and her son Leland.
She added that the centenarian couldn’t wait for her birthday on Feb. 12, when her bowling friends planned her birthday celebration at the Manteca Bowl. There were 18 senior teams of four who were waiting for her to arrive with helium filled balloons, three cakes and gifts. They brought their cameras too. There wasn’t a missed shot.
A large bowling pin was signed by the members of her team as well with a Hawaiian lei placed around her neck with $10 bills attached.
“She was pretty tuckered out the next day,” a close relative quipped.