Sunday, January 21, 2018
News Roundup

Wife's 90th birthday celebrated in a most expansive way

When Pauline Renshaw Reinhart Dawson Spangler turned 90 last month, candles were being blown out in her honor on cakes from Florida to California, from Oregon to New York. And, in fact, the party is continuing.

It was her "Birthday Across America," the brainchild of her (third) husband (of a year and a half), Dan Spangler. He even offered to buy the cakes for the far-flung parties. No one took him up on the offer, but they did use Pauline's birthday as a good reason to celebrate.

Pauline and Dan met at church. Really.

Almost two years ago, when Pauline was living at an assisted living facility in Palm Harbor — she didn't need assistance; she had moved there with her second husband and continued to live there after he died — she decided she wanted to get back into her lifelong habit of going to church.

Someone suggested North Bay Community Church, two blocks from where she lived.

And so she walked the two blocks — blocks get longer as we get older, she said — to church. The pastor introduced Pauline as a new member of the church, and after services were over, she mingled with the greeting committee, never suspecting that her future husband was among its members.

When the committee members realized that Pauline had walked to church, they wouldn't hear of her walking back home. Someone offered up a member of the committee — a man several years younger than she who wears big glasses and an event bigger smile — standing off to the side.

He accepted, and on the short ride home, Dan Spangler told Pauline Dawson about an upcoming symphony concert at the church. He asked her if she wanted a ride there, adding that she was welcome to bring a friend.

"I thought, 'This looks like quite a nice man,' " Pauline said. She told him yes.

She did bring a friend, who wanted to go home right after the concert, so they dropped her off and went to what would become their favorite date spot — DQ.

That was Nov. 7, 2011.

Three months later, they were married — in front 100 people at the church where they had met.

• • •

He's originally from York, Pa.; she's from Pontiac, Mich.

He had three children; she had five, but one died.

He worked as a college director of student activities; she taught first grade for 30 years.

His wife had died a year before they met; her husband had died four years before — and both from congestive heart failure involving the same valve.

A seemingly perfect match.

• • •

They moved into his neat and tidy Palm Harbor home.

Early this year, Spangler, realizing his wife would be 90 on Aug. 2, started thinking about what to do.

He asked her what she wanted.

Want a big Florida party in a state park or church?

No way, she said.

"Everybody kept asking me what I was going to do to celebrate," Pauline said.

"It got kind of obnoxious," her husband, 81, said.

• • •

And that's when he got the idea of a "Birthday Across America." Dan — so organized he color-coded not only the "guest" list to keep track of who was having parties when, but also the pins on the party-locator map — went to work.

He sent letters to 60 people, detailing his plan to have all of Pauline's friends and family members celebrating her birthday at the same time.

He got 50 responses to the event that has turned into the party that won't quit.

The first birthday celebration took place at a gathering of Zephyrhills snowbirds in Pontiac, Mich., in July; the last won't be held until November.

All for a woman who never suspected the bonus she would get for going back to church.

• • •

They probably knew they were meant for each other on that first DQ date. So taken with each other, they didn't even realize the place had cleared out while they sat there. Closing time, they were told.

She climbed in his car and he drove her home. They were almost there when she realized she had left her purse in the DQ.

When they pulled back into the parking lot, employees were waiting at the door for them to come back. One was holding her purse.

Their first shared stroke of luck.

Hmm. Funny how it seems as if all great love stories start with an unforgettable episode like that.

Patti Ewald can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8746.

     
       
Comments
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jalen Hudson came off the bench to score 17, and Chris Chiozza, Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes contributed clutch baskets down the stretch as Florida rallied to upset No. 18 Kentucky 66-64 Saturday night. "We were able to win it jus...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

ST. PETERSBURG — USF had expected to have four former players in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, but QB Quinton Flowers had to miss the showcase game after learning that his grandmother had died late last week."I most definitely ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Late score gives West victory over East in Shrine Game

Late score gives West victory over East in Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — With less than a week to install a playbook, offenses can have it tough in college showcase games.And for 58 minutes on Saturday in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, the teams combined for just one offensive touchdown.But...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

For years, Edward Peachey has bragged about the number of jobless people he has helped find work.As president and CEO of CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, he’s in charge of the two main government agencies that provide training to the...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

WEEKI WACHEE — The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday investigated the death of a Hillsborough County man in the Eagle’s Nest, an underwater network of caves where at least 11 others have died since 1981.Even experienced divers have lost th...
Updated: 8 hours ago
More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

Florida’s dip into frigid temperatures did more than just stun humans unused to such cold air. This month scientists and volunteers have rescued more than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles from a single bay in the Florida Panhandle.The U.S. Geological S...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

TAMPA — Many times during Sinfonietta, Leoš Janácek’s notoriously difficult but joyous work, it was impossible for a regular patron of the Florida Orchestra to escape this observation: They have never sounded quite like this.This isn’t to say musicia...
Updated: 9 hours ago
The longer the shutdown lasts, the further the economic ripples will spread

The longer the shutdown lasts, the further the economic ripples will spread

The early days of the federal government shutdown won’t slow the U.S. economy much. No workers are missing paychecks yet, and because it is a weekend, few businesses expect to feel the effects of lost customers or suppliers.That could change, quickly...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Forecast: Tampa Bay’s bitter cold snap is finally over

Forecast: Tampa Bay’s bitter cold snap is finally over

Tampa Bay is finally clear of the bitter chill that covered the region this week as temperatures picked up on Saturday. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around t...
Published: 01/20/18