Tillie Dybing Credits Long Life To Laughter, Faith, And Taking Every Day One At A Time

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO-TV) — A Minnesota woman has a title very few people in the world share: two-time major pandemic survivor.

The 107-year-old newly-vaccinated warrior is Tillie Dybing. She lives at Ecumen in Detroit Lakes. Dybing is full of history. Her life started a century ago on a North Dakota farm. “I worked hard. I was a farm girl, I used to haul grain with a team of horses from the thrashing [machine] to the grain elevator,” Dybing said.

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That tough young lady would endure what few ever could. Starting with the 1918 flu pandemic, she was 5, and her hardworking parents both caught the virus.

“My folks were in bed, I was running up and down the middle of the bed, you know, and keeping my folks awake, and my dad said, ‘Can’t you run some other place?’” Tillie said. “That was quite a flu, quite a session there. Though I survived that, and survived cancer.”

Tillie Dybing (credit: CBS)

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Dybing also survived the loss of her beloved husband, and most recently, at 107 years old, she survived COVID-19. “I don’t know, I didn’t feel any different,” she said.

The stoic great-grandmother says the most painful part of COVID was staying inside her room. “I opened the door one day and wanted to go out and see what was going on, and the nurse hollered, ‘Tillie! Get back in your room [laughs]!’” she said.

She says laughter is a key to life, and so is faith. She also says to take life day-by-day instead of year-by-year. She just got the vaccine, and says it didn’t even hurt. And in typical form, Tillie is feeling strong.

“I feel fine,” Dybing said. “Am I supposed to be sick [laughs]?”

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She says after COVID, she’s looking forward to taking long summer drives with her son.