HELENA – Helena resident Charlotte Niklas will celebrate her 107th birthday this week. She has lived her entire life in the Queen City of the Rockies and has seen it change through the years.
Charlotte was born July 6, 1911, as Charlotte Zoeller, in Helena to a blacksmith and a housekeeper. “I was a bit of a brat, and a saint. I was a good little kid,” quipped Charlotte.
Charlotte says she had a good childhood with really no complaints and she graduated high school from St. Vincent’s Academy in 1928.
In 1935 Helena was rocked by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that caused $4 million in damage and claimed the lives of four people. “Scary as hell,” said Charlotte, “I mean that too. We were very shaken up.”
But the earthquake wasn’t the biggest event that year for Charlotte. In 1935 Charlotte married the love of her life, Tony Niklas, and the couple raised two sons.
People at Bill Roberts Golf Course may be familiar with Tony since the clubhouse is named in his honor. Tony and Charlotte were avid golfers and supporters of the golf course.
Charlotte reflected that through everything, no matter the hardship, she has always had a great family. “We always did everything together, all those really exciting things,” said Charlotte.
Charlotte added that the secret to a long and happy life is simply a good family, full of love. She'll be celebrating her 107th birthday at Touchmark Retirement Community surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.