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Genevieve "Gene" Sirey celebrates turning 108

Genevieve "Gene" Sirey celebrated her 108th birthday with friends and staff members at Mease Manor, her home since 1992.

Genevieve Eloise Wright and her twin, Gertrude Elizabeth Wright, were born July 5, 1903 in Dundee, Mich., to Jennie Louise (Reynolds) and Alfred Nathan Wright. The girls grew up on the family farm.

The centenarian graduated from high school in 1925 and married Richard Chamberlain the same year. They have a son, Michael Chamberlain, who lives in Woodbridge, Va. The marriage ended in divorce.

She received a degree in home economics from Albion College in 1929 and completed a six-month special dietary program at University of Michigan.

In 1943, she married George Johnston, who had five grown children. Together they had a son, David Johnston, who lives in San Francisco.

George Johnston died in 1975.

Her work before settling into family life included a short stint teaching nutrition in Philadelphia and another as a dietitian in Cleveland, but it wasn't until after the family was on its own that she found her niche as a clinical dietitian at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., where she worked until age 69.

Her third husband was William "Bill" Sirey. They wed in 1978 and traveled extensively, visiting Europe, China, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

William Sirey died in 1998, the same year as Mrs. Sirey's twin sister, Gertrude.

Mrs. Sirey's eyesight and hearing are impaired, but she still gets around with a walker.

She attributes her long life to keeping busy, writing, exercising and eating healthfully. She taught an exercise class at Mease Manor until 2005 and continued oil painting until age 103. She has written her life story, which was edited and printed by a stepgranddaughter.

In addition to her sons, Mrs. Sirey has a granddaughter, and many stepgrandchildren.

• • •

Joseph and Brenda Malkiewicz of Clearwater celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family in mid June at Hammock Beach Resort, Palm Bay.

The couple wed May 6, 1961, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Tampa.

He served in the Air Force from 1956 to 1960 and later worked 36 years for Rust-Oleum Corp., where he was an area sales manager.

She is a homemaker.

He came here in 1959 from New Jersey; she arrived in 1951 from Norfolk, Va.

The couple are dog owners and enjoy dancing and travel, especially taking sea cruises.

They have three children and seven grandchildren.

• • •

On their 50th wedding anniversary, John and Martha Espey of Dunedin were treated to a surprise family dinner at the Wine Cellar on Redington Beach, the same restaurant they dined at the night of their wedding and where they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

The couple married July 1, 1961, at Peace Memorial Church in Clearwater, the church they still attend.

The celebration continued July 3, with a reception at Peace Memorial Church and a party with friends and family that evening at their Dunedin home. Dunedin's Hometown USA fireworks a few blocks away provided a sparkling finale to the event.

The Espeys are retired and spend time the summer and fall in the North Carolina mountains.

They have two daughters and three grandchildren who all live locally.

• • •

The Dunedin Historical Society announced its Historymaker Award winners for 2011 at its annual member picnic in May.

This year, two couples and a youth were honored: Dave and Layle Kremske, who have managed the Friends of the Library Bookstore and worked on boards and committees for the city and the community; Tom and Alice Anderson, who have devoted years to local organizations as well as city and state government; and 17-year old Madalyn Yates, a member of the Interact Club at Dunedin High and an active volunteer for the Rotary Club and her church.

Since 1971, the society has honored Dunedin residents who have devoted much of their lives to community service.

• • •

In May, Charles Rutenberg Realty presented a fundraising check in the amount of $8,000 to Sailability Greater Tampa Bay to fund the group's outreach program, offering safe sailing programs to people of all abilities through monthly scheduled sails. In addition to veterans, SGTB provides sailing opportunities for Special Olympics, the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch, Shriners Hospitals for Children, All Children's Hospital and several other organizations.

SGTB celebrated its 10-year anniversary June 4 with an all-day sail at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, 1001 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater.

The all-volunteer group sailed more than 25 people with various physical issues and their caregivers on Clearwater Bay. Lynn Mohrs, a James Haley VA patient who is quadriplegic and on a ventilator, once again showed off his skills by sailing a special electronic sailboat with his chin.

Past Rutenberg donations purchased two accessible 10-foot sailboats.

Genevieve "Gene" Sirey celebrates turning 108 07/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 7:19pm]

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