Dubuque Woman Surrounded by the Number 12

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - On her 77th birthday, Lucille Merkes is reminiscing about growing up in a big family. She's one of 12 children.

Merkes said, "I was born the 12th day of the 12th month at 12 O'clock noon. I weighed 12 pounds."

She was born and raised in Bellevue, Iowa, which by the way, has 12 letters in it.

Is there anything in this avid baker's life that doesn't involve the number 12?

Merkes said, "well, I have more than 12 friends I know. "

As the clock struck noon, Merkes and her friends headed out for lunch to enjoy a piece of birthday pie, and toast another year.

Merkes said, "I got up today and raised my arms and said, "yeah, I made it."

And that's no small victory, she says. A couple years ago, a complication after a surgery left her fighting for her life. But she kept focused on meeting this milestone.

"I had a lot of hopes and prayed a lot," said Merkes. " And I think that's what pulled me through. "

For many people birthdays are often just a stitch in time. For Merkes this date defines her past and promises her a future.

"I'm just looking forward to staying healthy and have a lot of fun," said Merkes.
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