100 grandchildren are a blessing enjoyed by few families. Illinois couple Leo and Ruth Zanger just welcomed their 100th grandchild into the world. The Zanger’s have been married for 59 years. The family includes 12 children, 53 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
The newest addition to the 100 grandchildren loved by Ruth and Leo Zanger is their 46th great-grandchild, Jaxton Zanger. The latest bundle of joy was born April 8.
“The good Lord has just kept sending them,” Leo Zanger said during an interview with the Herald-Whig. “We could start our own town.”
“We rent out a church hall,” said Austin Zanger, a grandson of Leo and Ruth Zanger, said when describing how the family that just welcomed the 100th grandchild, gathers for holidays and special events.
Ashleigh Zanger, Austin’s wife, had the honor of giving birth to the Ruth and Leo Zanger’s 100th grandchild.
“It took awhile for me to learn everyone’s name – and remember them,” Ashleigh said when talking about the adjustments involved with joining such a large family. She added that she is extremely proud of bringing the 100th grandchild into the family. “I feel a little extra special.”
Austin and Ashleigh Zanger were not initially aware that Jaxton would grandchild number 100.
“We didn’t even know until Donna and Kelly figured it out and told us about three months along,” Austin said. “It’s pretty special, 100 grandkids, that’s a big deal.”
“We’re all really close. We get together a lot,” he said. “There’s always a lot of interaction. We spend a lot of time with each other. I know there are a lot of families half of our size who only get together maybe once or twice a year,” Austin Zanger also said.
“There’s always room for one more,” Ruth Zanger said when discussing the large and ever-growing family. The Illinois couple started their family in 1956 when daughter Linda was born and welcomed their twelfth child, Joe, in 1984. The other Zanger children include Greg, Debbie, David, Donna, Steve, Mike, Daniel, Ernie, Matt, and Chuck.
Many of the Zanger clan currently have, or at some point in the future, will work for the family real estate business, Zanger and Associates. The first Zanger grandchild was born to eldest child Linda and her husband, Kenny Hardin. Jeannine Hardin was number 1 of 100 grandchildren when she was born in 1975.
Zanger daughter Donna Lane is the unofficial family historian who is tasked with keeping track of all the birthdays, weddings, phone numbers, anniversaries, and other important family moments for the Illinois couple and their expansive family.
“[Other family members] always say, ‘Since you already have all of the phone numbers, can you just text [or call] them and let them know about whatever the event is?’” Donna said, calling the role as family historian a labor of love.
Most of the close-knit Illinois family that just welcomed the 1ooth grandchild live in the Quincy area and get together as much as possible. When the clan gathers, they rent out a church hall and cook 10 turkeys, or 50 pounds of ham for their family dinner.
“Everyone takes their turn [in helping with food] and they all try and outdo each other,” Donna said. “We are always getting together for something.”
“It’s a very busy family, and we enjoy being around each other,” Daniel Zanger said. “There’s never a dull moment. We always had a lot of fun growing up.”
A strong sense of family has been instilled in the clan by Leo and Ruth Zanger, the Illinois couple noted that each and every one of the grandkids are special, no matter “what their number.”
What do you think about the 100 grandchildren milestone achieved by the Illinois couple and the Zanger family?
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