Happy birthday! Former ND First Lady Grace Link celebrates her 105th birthday

The young Grace Link. On the left: a black and white photo of Grace Link in her young...
The young Grace Link. On the left: a black and white photo of Grace Link in her young adulthood. On the right: a photo of Grace Link in blue.(Courtesy of the family of Grace Link)
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 2:49 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Over the past century, much has changed in our world: from indoor plumbing to televisions in every room and to more than one family car in the garage.

There’s one North Dakota woman who has experienced it all: former First Lady Grace Link is celebrating her 105th birthday. She was born September 13, 1918.

Her photo album holds more than a century of memories. Memories that tell the story of Grace Link’s life.

“It’s been an enjoyable life,” said Grace.

Born Grace Johnson on September 13, 1918, she was the youngest of four kids. She recalls the importance her parents placed on education. She walked to a one-room country school from their farm near Cartwright, N.D.

“It was a two-and-a-half-mile walk,” she remembered.

Not even the cold North Dakota winters could keep her home.

“I didn’t get too cold. I had a warm jacket. I stayed warm,” she said.

Grace attended high school in Williston. At age 15, she met the love of her life at a barn dance.

“He had a lot of musical ability,” she smiled.

Grace and Art Link married in 1939.

“I was a farmer’s daughter; I married a farmer,” she said.

That farmer went on to be a politician, serving in the state House of Representatives, the U.S. House and as Governor of North Dakota.

Art and Grace raised six children — five sons, and one daughter.

“I’ve lost two of them,” she said. “That’s hard. You feel like your kids should outlive you.”

Art passed away in 2010. Photos help her remember their life together; photos with their family, on the farm and on the campaign trail.

Grace settled easily into her role as First Lady, quickly making a name for herself with her homemade lemon meringue pies. Those pies often sold for hundreds of dollars at political fundraisers.

Grace insists there was no secret recipe. Much like today, she insists there’s no secret to living such a long, full life.

“I haven’t any secret. I just keep living,” she said with a laugh. “It’s been a good life.”

A life forever preserved in photographs.

Aside from a year she and Art spent in Washington, D.C., Grace has lived her entire life in North Dakota.

Grace recalls the first television she and Art had — they won it in a contest sponsored by KUMV-TV in the ‘50s.

Related: Former First Lady Grace Link turns 102, reflects on life

Grace Link’s Lemon Meringue Pie
Grace Link’s Lemon Meringue Pie(KFYR-TV)