Around Suffield: Naomi Kapper will be the Grand Marshal at the township’s Memorial Day Parade

Naomi and Louie Kapper. Submitted photo

What came first? The chicken or the egg?

A great question to ask Naomi Kapper. She is 100 years old (to be 101 in October). We thought she would have the answer because she and her late husband, Louie Kapper, owned the Wingfoot Lake Hatchery in Suffield for over 50 years.

Naomi was born 1922 in Grove City, Ohio, in a log cabin. She met the love of her life, Louie, and they married in 1947. They moved to Akron and then to Suffield in 1948. They rented the Wingfoot Lake Hatchery for a while, then bought the business. Sadly, Louie passed away in 1991, but Naomi continued to run the business until in 1996. At age 75, she sold the Hatchery. She said it took long hours and was very hard work to run the business.

Naomi Klapper

She and Louie had their only child, a daughter, Ruth Saal. Ruth gifted them with five grandchildren — four granddaughters and a grandson. Naomi now has ten great-grandchildren:

Dawn (Steve) Lofland – children: Logan (Shayna) Lofland and Danielle Lofland

Brenda (Scott) Jankowski – children: Zack Jankowski

Valerie (Dave) Rodenbucher – children: Ray, Sam, Angelica, Christian and Rose

Heather (Trevor) Clark – children: Wilson and Lincoln

Adam Saal

Naomi says she can still keep up with all of them.

After retiring, she and Ruth did extensive traveling in the United States and Internationally. Some of their favorite visits were to Alaska, Australia and Hawaii. During one trip out West, the two drove over 3,000 miles. Naomi was very adventurous and never missed an opportunity to experience new challenges.

They tried it all: dune buggying, white water rafting, Mount St. Helens by helicopter, hot air ballooning in Australia, kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, zip lining (at 85 years), dog sledding, and a water landing by seaplane in Alaska to have dinner at a lodge — to name just a few of her exploits. She has also ridden motorcycles and had a flight in the Goodyear Blimp. 

She said the only thing she has not done is jump out of a plane. That may be on her bucket list.

She said the dumbest thing she did was jump out of a boat and swim to shore while traveling to the Panama Canal. She had no idea it was so far and was exhausted when she reached land.

Of course, she has an extensive chicken memorabilia collection… and everyone donates to it.

In her lifetime, she has witnessed many inventions, monumental events and lived through the elections and terms of 18 presidents, beginning with Warren Harding.

She enjoys good health. The only problem she has had was a fall after her 100th birthday party, breaking her leg. But it quickly healed. Ruth says her mother takes no medication, feels life has been good to her, and she never complains.

Naomi feels her longevity is due to her good genes, love of family, feeding the birds and wildlife and years of hard work. We look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with Naomi.

Another first for her: In the Memorial Day Parade, she will ride in a Tesla driven by her granddaughter, Heather Danielle Clark.

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