75-year-old Ste. Genevieve woman with down syndrome lives life t - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

75-year-old Ste. Genevieve woman with down syndrome lives life to the fullest

A woman with down syndrome in Ste. Genevieve is touching the hearts of everyone she meets. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS) A woman with down syndrome in Ste. Genevieve is touching the hearts of everyone she meets. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS)
Loretta Neiter was not expected to live past her 20s. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS) Loretta Neiter was not expected to live past her 20s. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS)
While she may not realize it – Loretta teaches everyone she knows an important lesson about living life to the fullest. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS) While she may not realize it – Loretta teaches everyone she knows an important lesson about living life to the fullest. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS)
STE. GENEVIEVE, MO (KFVS) -

A woman with down syndrome in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri is touching the hearts of everyone she meets.

“I don’t know what this place would be like without her," said Erin Jokerst of Ste. Genevieve Group Homes.

Loretta Neiter is one of the oldest living people with down syndrome known in the world at 75.

However, living with the syndrome hasn’t kept her from living a full and happy life.

“Her family was told at the time that she would not live much past her twenties," said administrator of Ste. Genevieve Group Homes, Sharon Werner.

She defied the odds then and now.

Loretta retired just five years ago from Ste. Gen Industries where she worked until she was almost 70.

“She worked hard," said Jokerst.

She came to live in this group home in the 80s, and she fit right in, especially with her witty sense of humor.

“She would fire you if she didn’t like you for the day. If she didn’t get her way. She was just a lot of fun. Full of love. Give you lots of hugs," Jokerst said.

But sometimes those hugs come with a catch.

“She’s always giving people shots. She walks up *ckkkkk*”

Loretta spends her days now exercising, coloring and dancing to her favorite songs.

“You turn on a song that she wants to dance to and she’s up and movin’," Jokerst said.

While she may not realize it, Loretta teaches everyone she knows an important lesson about living life to the fullest.

“When there’s a song, dance. When there’s a party, go. Have fun," Jokerst said.

"And make room for desert," Werner said.

The oldest known person with down syndrome is believed to be 80-years-old.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, the life expectancy for people with down syndrome is about 60.

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