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Palm Harbor, Clearwater women celebrate 100th birthdays

Pearl Driscoll Bashford of Palm Harbor celebrated her 100th birthday with an open house June 4 at her residence with many family members, friends and neighbors. The event was arranged by Bashford's daughters, Donna Driscoll Larson of Palm Harbor and Jayne Driscoll Meyer of Eden Prairie, Minn.

In honor of her centenarian status, Bashford received congratulatory letters from President Obama, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard.

Pearl Emelia Polzin was born to German immigrants June 7, 1911, in Peshtigo, Wis. — a town that shares an historic date with the city of Chicago; they both caught fire and burned Oct. 8, 1871.

After completing high school in Peshtigo, she graduated from a business college in Milwaukee.

She married Norman "Nebo" Driscoll in 1935 in Peshtigo. For nearly 30 years, the couple operated a service station where she kept the books. Mr. Driscoll lost his right arm in a mill accident, but the injury didn't keep him from building the service station and family home or impair his ability to bowl, fish and hunt.

Mr. Driscoll died in 1965. Seven years later, she married Carson Bashford, another Peshtigo resident, and they moved to Green Bay, Wis.

The couple came to Palm Harbor from Green Bay in 1983.

Mr. Bashford died in 2002.

She remains a diehard Green Bay Packers fan, loves to watch football games and cooking shows, and relishes a good card game.

The happy, healthy 100-year-old also enjoys a well-made Brandy Old-Fashioned every now and then.

Mrs. Bashford had a son, James Driscoll, who is now deceased. In addition to her daughters, she has eight grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

• • •

Natalie Keith Stuke, a resident of Christian Manor Assisted Living Facility in Clearwater, reached her 100th birthday this month.

Natalie June Curtis was born June 19, 1911, in Chicago to Will Espy Curtis, an inventor best known for egg boilers and timers used in hotels and on ships, and Edith Mae (Luther) Curtis. Three sisters and a brother are now deceased.

She is a 1928 graduate of the Academy of the New Church, Bryn Athyn, Pa., and worked many years in the offices of Continental Insurance Company.

She married twice in Chicago, first to Thomas Keith from 1932 to 1936; then to Carl Stuke from 1939 to 1955. Both marriages ended in divorce.

During the late 1950s, Mrs. Stuke purchased two three-story homes that had been converted into apartments. For more than 50 years, she managed the properties, mowed the lawns and found contractors to do repair work.

She is a lifetime member of the Church of the New Jerusalem.

Her long life isn't related to a healthy diet, since Mrs. Stuke lived on meats and sweets. Exercise may have played a large part, because in addition to many years of apartment maintenance, she also walked all over Chicago to shop and pay her bills.

Mrs. Stuke has a niece, Carol Toscani.

• • •

Michael and Mary Byrne of Palm Harbor marked their 50th wedding anniversary June 10 and plan to commemorate the event at Clearwater Beach in early August when family members from New Hampshire and Ireland are able to participate.

The couple married June 10, 1961, at the Church of the Visitation, the Bronx, N.Y.

He moved to New York in 1957 from his native Ireland — Rahan, Tullamore, County Offaly. She came to New York at Mr. Byrne's invitation in 1960. After the wedding, the couple lived in Yonkers, N.Y., and Putnam Valley, N.Y., before moving back to Tullamore in 1976 with their children. Five years later, the family moved back to Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

He worked as a mechanic and fitter and retired from Metro North Railroad as a welder in 1995. In Ireland, he worked for a company called Bord na Mona.

She stayed busy as a homemaker raising the couple's four children.

They came here in 1995 from New York.

He loves to work with his hands and always has projects in progress, either for himself or his children.

She is a member of the YMCA of the Suncoast, where she works out regularly at the gym.

In addition to their children, the couple have eight grandchildren.

Palm Harbor, Clearwater women celebrate 100th birthdays 06/21/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 7:20pm]
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