Skip to main content

Minnesota's oldest-living person celebrates 112th birthday

The New Ulm woman celebrated in a different kind of style because of the pandemic.

Erna Zahn, the oldest-living person in Minnesota, celebrated her 112th birthday on Tuesday. 

The New Ulm woman wasn't able to have visitors because of the coronavirus crisis, which has led to long-term care facilities in Minnesota and in most places nationwide restricting access due to residents of such congregate settings being more vulnerable to severe illness if they contract the virus

So instead of family and friends stopping by for a birthday chat, Oak Hills Living Center provided Zahn with a video of her loved ones from all over the country sending virtual wishes.

Of course ,before COVID-19, her family along with Oak Hill staff were planning several parties to celebrate her amazing life. Since we are unable to do that, we decided to put a video together bringing her whole family into Erna's life on her very special day." 

Not only that, but Zahn was treated to a police-led parade of cars driving past her room. 

"The staff of New Ulm Police Department would like to wish Erna Zahn a very happy 112th Birthday!!!!" New Ulm PD wrote on Facebook. "Erna is the oldest living person in the State of Minnesota and we love that she is a resident of New Ulm!!!"

Zahn became a rare super centenarian when she turned 110 in 2018. It's unclear how many super centenarians there are in America, but Zahn is just over two years younger than Hester Ford, a South Carolina man who is believed to be the oldest-living person in the country at 114 years, 244 day old (as of April 15).  

Oak Hills Living Center told the Star Tribune that Zach is the 15th-oldest-living person in America. 

Next Up

Image from iOS (2)

Urban Outfitters store in Uptown to close

A number of national chains have departed Uptown in recent years.

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 6.41.22 AM

USS Minneapolis-St. Paul officially launched in Duluth ceremony

It's the first U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 9.56.21 AM

North High principal Mauri Friestleben returning to finish year

The principal said Friday she had been fired from her role over her support of a student protest.


One dead, two injured in wrong-way crash on Hwy. 169

The crash occurred on Highway 169 early Sunday morning.

minneapolis police

Man fatally shot overnight in north Minneapolis

The shooting was reported around 2:20 a.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.30.08 AM

Campsites closed at Voyageurs National Park due to 'historic' water levels

All backcountry trails and campsites are closed, as well as many frontcountry sites.

state capitol Minnesota

Lawmakers reach agreement on tax cuts ahead of session's end

Lawmakers announced they had reached a deal on a tax bill Saturday ahead of the looming session deadline.


Victims of daytime drive-by shooting in Robbinsdale identified

The two men died after a hail of bullets struck a vehicle.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.14.37 AM

Source of 'loud explosion' in Brooklyn Park a mystery

The noise was investigated by police, but no source could be determined.

covid, vaccine, booster shots

COVID: All Americans over 50 advised to get a second booster

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise again as new COVID variants emerge.

J.W. Peck (left) and Eric Galler.

2 Minnesotans inducted into White Castle's Hall of Fame

White Castle — it's what a man in Minneapolis and another in Woodbury, crave.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 5.46.37 PM

Video shows officers ended pursuit before fatal crash in Anoka

The crash occurred when the driver fled police during an attempted traffic stop in Coon Rapids.


All eyes on the rising Cottonwood River in southern Minnesota

Major flooding is expected in parts of New Ulm by Friday morning.

Target center wolves

Celebrating 30th birthday, Target Center offering prize to one lucky person

The arena wants people to submit their memories from Target Center.

money, cash, $100

Forbes reveals the richest person in Minnesota

Forbes unveiled the richest person in every state, but we're not quite sure about it.


Oprah bringing wellness tour to Minnesota in 2020

She's going to have a lineup of celebrity guests.


These are the 33 best cities to live in Minnesota

Duluth just made the cut at No. 33, according to the study.

Celebrate the North: A look inside the Wunderbar Glampground

The first in our video series that takes you to Northern Minnesota's hidden gems.