Marie Carlson, a resident of Westchester Gardens in Clearwater, recently celebrated her 100th birthday.
The former Marie Muckensturm was born Nov. 20, 1908, in Atlantic City, N.J.
When Air Force pilot Harold Carlson dipped the wings of his plane over the White Palace Beauty Salon in Bridgeton, N.J., and flirted with the 38-year-old beautician who waved a white towel in greeting from below, it started a 57-year romance.
The former beautician became the bride of Harold Carlson on Feb. 2, 1946, and during the late 1950s and early 1960s, traveled the state giving speeches as president of the Home Economics Advisory Council in Bridgeton.
She enjoyed traveling, visiting Alaska and Hawaii, and frequently spending summers in the mountains of North Carolina.
She and her husband moved to Clearwater in 1972. For 30 years they owned Coach Mobile Home Park. Mr. Carlson passed away in 2003.
She loves animals and has owned a number of cats and dogs.
She was a former member of the Suncoast New Neighbors Club, in which her daughter, Kathryn Sellier, was also a member.
Mrs. Carlson also has a granddaughter, Victoria Sellier.
• • •
Thomas Wagner of Largo spent his 100th birthday among family and friends at Barrington Terrace Assisted Living Community, with festivities that included music and dancing.
He was born Jan. 5, 1909, in West Virginia to Anne and Pete Wagner, whose occupations included farmer and coal miner.
Mr. Wagner completed the 10th grade and discovered a love of history and photography.
He has enjoyed taking pictures throughout his life. Many of them were snapped while serving four years in the Navy and traveling the world from the South Pole to the North Pole.
The centenarian married his first wife, Alice, in Michigan during the 1930s and became a widower three decades later. He married Nettie in 1994, and the couple spent six years together until her death in 2000.
He was employed by Chrysler Corp., retired in 1970 and has lived in Largo for about 20 years.
Mr. Wagner explains his longevity quite simply.
"I never smoked, but I drink moderately," he said, then added, "I eat the right foods and I exercise every day. Sometimes twice a day!"
Family members include a nephew, Ron Keplinger.
• • •
This past holiday season, Girl Scout Troop 1024, Palm Harbor delivered gifts of stuffed snowmen and coloring books to children in the Pediatric Unit at Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor.
The Scouts were also given a tour of the unit by head nurse Joan Ankenbauer who demonstrated a piece of medical equipment used to locate veins in infants in need of intravenous medications.
• • •
At its annual December holiday party at the Clearwater Main Library, the College Fund of Pinellas County's board of directors distributed checks to 19 grant recipients, giving $500 to students who provided their qualifying grades and course schedule for next semester.
The event was attended by students and their families, as well as former recipients, supporters and advisers. Joyce Green Russell, a former recipient from 1966, recalled many fond memories of her association with the college fund and her mentor, Ruth Williams, and reacquainted herself with board members Audrey Scheidenhelm and Doris Musgrove Bruening, who have been with the college fund since it began 42 years ago.
The current students attend colleges in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. They all receive Pell grants and have proved their academic success by maintaining a 2.0 GPA or above in order to obtain a bachelor's degree.
For more information on the program visit www.collegefundpinellas.org.
• • •
Jeanette Elizabeth Shumate of Clearwater graduated in June 2008 from National-Louis University, Wheeling, Ill., where she earned a master's degree in education.