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Florence Bailey celebrates 100th birthday

The Salvation Army is an important part of Florence Bailey’s life. She celebrated her 100th birthday in January in Safety Harbor.

Courtesy of the Bailey family

The Salvation Army is an important part of Florence Bailey’s life. She celebrated her 100th birthday in January in Safety Harbor.

Good for you | by Nova Beall

Florence Lillian Bailey celebrated her 100th birthday Jan. 29 with family and friends at Consulate Nursing Home, Safety Harbor, where she's been a resident since November 2008.

She was born Jan. 30, 1912, to George and Nettie Seiwell Meitrott in Hazleton, Pa., where her family had a bakery shop. Siblings included four boys: Walter, Foster, Adam and Harry; and three girls: Eva, Florence, and Thelma. Thelma, who's 90, lived in Clearwater until two years ago when she moved to Cincinnati to be nearer her daughter and family.

At age 5, Florence Bailey moved with her family to Philadelphia where her father was employed by National Biscuit Company.

From a very young age, Bailey attended the Salvation Army. Foster, Harry and Thelma became Salvation Army officers, and her other four siblings became lay leaders in the Salvation Army wherever they lived.

She met her future husband Frank Bailey at the Salvation Army, and they married in 1934 in Philadelphia. She attended a milliner industrial school and was employed by a hat factory and hosiery mill. After the birth of her sons, Ed and Bob, she became a stay-at-home mother. When her sons left home to enlist in the military, she went to work at a paper box factory from which she retired after 25 years.

She and her husband both played in a Salvation Army band, he on drums and she on cornet and alto horn. Over the years, she has served in many lay leadership positions, including Sunday school teacher, pianist, songster, women's ministry leader and young people's leader.

Her husband died in 1972. Four years later, she moved to Strongsville, Ohio, to live with her son Ed. While in Ohio, she taught Sunday school and played piano at the Salvation Army Hough Multi-Purpose Center and attended the Cleveland Temple Corps.

In 1981, Bailey moved to Clearwater with her son and his family. She volunteered with the Salvation Army as a Sunday school teacher and became involved with the women's ministry and hospital and nursing home visitation. She was even a bell ringer during the Christmas season. When she could no longer visit nursing homes, she crocheted lap robes to distribute to the "old folks" there.

In addition to her sons, Bailey has seven grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren who call her "Grandma-great"; and four great-great-grandchildren.

• • •

William G. Justice of Clearwater was selected as the winner of this year's Champion of Hope award by the UPARC Foundation at the organization's prayer breakfast Jan. 19 at the Dr. William E. Hale Center, Dunedin.

The award is given to a community leader who embodies the passion, integrity, and long-term commitment to the community exemplified by Dr. William E. Hale, the UPARC Foundation founder.

The board selected Justice for his work with Senior Services Inc., the Salvation Army, Military Order of World Wars, City of Clearwater City Council, UPARC, and his service as a colonel in the Marine Corps. Also a factor in his selection was his work with charities and his tenure as assistant superintendent of Pinellas County Schools, principal at Clearwater and Northeast highs, and seven years as a Clearwater High football coach.

The UPARC Foundation is proud to recognize Justice as a positive example of what one person is able to give back to his or her community.

• • •

Cara McGrath of Dunedin recently received an educational grant of $2,000 from the Dunedin Chapter of P.E.O.

The group's Program for Continuing Education provides grant money to women who have chosen to return to school after their college education has been interrupted for more than two years.

The 28-year-old is completing her elementary education degree from the University of Phoenix and is currently student teaching first and second grades at the Cornerstone Christian School in Dunedin. She will graduate in April and hopes to pursue a career as a teacher.

Florence Bailey celebrates 100th birthday 02/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 7:26pm]
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