Families come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s hard to imagine one bigger than the one from Illinois. The sheer number of grandkids in this family is enough to fill an entire wall with photo frames.
Leo and Ruth Zanger, a couple from Illinois who have been happily married for 66 years and have an impressive 100 grandchildren.
This large family milestone was reached in 2015 when their 100th grandchild was born after much anticipation. Keeping track of such a large family must be a challenge, but the Zangers are proud of their growing brood.
At one point, they even had a friendly competition among their children to see who would be the lucky parent to give them their 99th grandchild.
Not all of the children are considered “grandchildren” in the traditional sense. Some of them are great-grandchildren. However, when there are so many, the distinction becomes less important. The latest addition, baby number 100, is named Jaxton Leo Zanger and is the 46th great-grandchild.
It raises the question of who is keeping track of all these family members. As a grandparent, one might even struggle to remember everyone’s names. But at least my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can’t blame me for that.
Imagine knowing 53 grandchildren alone, and even more great-grandchildren. And yet, even that number doesn’t add up to 100 – there’s also a great, great-grandchild in the mix. It’s truly mind-boggling.
Leo and Ruth’s family began with 12 children, which is a larger number than many individuals intend to have. It is believed that they desired a large family. The age gap between their oldest and youngest child is 27 years, which is quite significant.
The eldest child, who is now in their 60s, had already become a parent before their youngest sibling was even born. As a result, the youngest sibling was an uncle from the moment they were born. It is quite intriguing how that situation played out. As a result of their large family, family gatherings are quite the event. Often, they have to rent out a church building to accommodate everyone.
“When we get together, it’s big. It’s really big.” – said Donna Lane, one of Leo and Ruth’s daughters
“There are a lot of people — a lot of kids — but that’s what it’s all about. We always have a really good time.” – she continued
With such a big family, coordinating tasks and responsibilities is not a problem. The Zanger household is never short of company during meal times. Coordinating gatherings would be challenging if members of the family lived in different locations, but fortunately, the majority of them reside in Illinois.
It’s hard to imagine the logistics of trying to bring together hundreds of relatives who live in different states. Leo also acknowledges that their family is likely to continue growing in size.
“I expect there will be more. It wouldn’t surprise me any because there are a lot of young families there yet that are just getting started.”
Leo jokingly suggests that their family is so large, they could potentially establish their own community. I fully believe him and can only imagine the surprise of any future additions to the family. In the present, celebrations such as birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s are always lively and entertaining within the Zanger household.
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