Maybe Ponce de Leon really did find the fountain of youth in Florida. North Pinellas residents Catherine Chapman Adams, Estelle Ann Blaske and George Bossard might agree — all celebrated 100th birthdays this month.
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Catherine Adams, who lives at West Bay of Tampa in Oldsmar, was treated to a party Oct. 4 in the facility's main dining room. During the festivities, Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis presented the centenarian with a proclamation officially designating Oct. 5, 2013, as Catherine Adams Day.
Born Oct. 5, 1913, in Fort Wayne, Ind., she attended parochial school.
A homemaker, she was married 42 years to her first husband, Oram Feeley. Her second marriage, to Harry Adams, lasted 22 years until his death at age 102.
Adams, who used to walk 3 miles daily, is a fan of the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays.
Her keys to longevity are to "work hard daily, love your family and don't smoke."
A mother of three (two now deceased), she has 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
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Estelle Ann Blaske celebrated her centenarian status Oct. 9 with refreshments and entertainment provided by Coral Oaks Independent Living Center in Palm Harbor, where she has been a resident since 2006. She went to dinner with close friends and family later in the evening.
She was born Oct. 9, 1913, in Milwaukee, Wis., to John and Josephine Pawlowski, Polish farmers who emigrated to the United States in 1908. She had nine siblings, all now deceased.
Her love of sewing and knitting began with trade school courses in Milwaukee and she worked as a hostess for affluent families during the Depression.
After marrying Walter J. Blaske on Feb. 9, 1932, in Milwaukee, she managed a Charles of the Ritz Salon, owned a children's clothing boutique where she made all the garments, and worked for Stretch and Sew, a business based on its founder's special techniques for sewing knits.
When they married, her husband was a widower with a 4-year-old son, the couple's only child. She has a granddaughter in Kansas and a grandson in Michigan.
The Blaskes retired in 1970 and moved to Florida, where they had vacationed since the mid 1950s. He died in 1981, months shy of the couple's 50th wedding anniversary. She remained in their Clearwater home until 2006, when she moved to Coral Oaks.
Known as "Stasha" to her Polish-heritage family, Blaske is aunt to hundreds of her siblings' children and grandchildren. In October 2012 she celebrated the birth of Aurelia Estelle Slagle, a fifth-generation baby who arrived a week before Blaske's 99th birthday.
Blaske always addressed people by name when conversing and found that asking questions about the lives of others kept her engaged with those she loved, exemplifying her philosophy, "If you find people interesting, they will be interested in you."
She recalls names, dates and locations without hesitation. Described as a prayer warrior, she gives thanks daily for good health, her large family and God's blessings.
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George Bossard of Clearwater loves apple pie, old movies and fresh air. He remembers farming, building homes, playing sports, dancing, traveling and how he loved his horse, Jerry.
For his 100th birthday on Oct. 15, Bayshore Home Care family along with the Oaks of Clearwater where he lives worked together to provide him with a blast from the past that included apple pie, a horse, goats and rabbits. Four generations of Bossard's family and many of the retirement community's residents celebrated and shared memories with the centenarian at the farm-themed party and petting zoo.
"George has a great smile and a wonderful spirit," said Christine Hamacher of Bayshore Home Care. "We wanted to do something that would simply bring him joy on as many levels as possible."
Bossard's advice to "Eat dessert first!" is simple and delicious; every year on his birthday he makes a point to eat apple pie before his dinner.
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