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CHESTERFIELD – Rudi Heider was 5 years old when the Spanish flu swept the world. He was 16 when a stock market crash started the Great Depression and he was 36 when Adolf Hitler invaded Poland.
On Wednesday, Heider turned 107 with a double celebration of his birthday and the day he met all the criteria for recovery of COVID-19. He marked the day at the Friendship Village Care Center in Chesterfield with his favorite dessert: the lemon meringue pie.
“He had a nice big slice,” said Michelle Cowsert, director of nursing services. “It ruined his dinner. “
The senior resident of the nursing home – and the alleged survivor of COVID-19 in the United States – was celebrated with balloons, cards and a birthday banner. Celebrations with those outside Friendship Village are suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, but Heider was able to visit through the window with his family and chat on the phone with a granddaughter in Seattle.
During his illness, Heider didn’t think he would survive, said the nursing home, but the man who recovered from a stroke at 100 and learned ballroom dancing at 104 said success.
Heider was treated in a special care center inside the COVID-19 patient nursing home. In addition to his pie, Heider said he was very excited to sleep in his own bed again.