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Good For You | Nova Beall

Woman's storied life stretches to 102 years

Cornelia Husgen of Dunedin celebrated her 102nd birthday with residents and staffers of Rosewood House II Assisted Living Facility. Claudia Sodaro played classical piano and Rosewood's own John Mucciolo entertained the audience with several classics.

She was born Cornelia DeKlaric on April 21, 1908, in Delft, Holland. She and her brothers lost their parents at an early age and were sent to live with other family members in Indonesia, where she developed an appreciation for Thai cuisine.

It was there she met and married her husband, Milford Husgen, an importer from Germany. After the birth of their only child, Paul, in 1939, the family was separated by war. While Mr. Husgen was in India, Mrs. Husgen and Paul were held for a time in an internment camp. With the help of the Red Cross, the family was eventually reunited.

Mr. Husgen worked as a translator at an American embassy. When a sponsor became available in 1949, the family boarded a ship to the United States.

The family made Boston their home. To bring in money, Mrs. Husgen cleaned houses, baked cookies and worked in a retail gift shop.

The Husgen's son helped make it possible for his parents to relocate to Florida in the early 1980s. After her husband's death in 1985, Mrs. Husgen lived in Stratford Court in Palm Harbor for a time before relocating to Rosewood House II.

She enjoys classical music, socializing with the other residents and looks forward to visits from her grandsons.

• • •

Leeta M. Danielson of Largo was treated to four celebrations in honor of her 100th birthday. The Heron House Assisted Living Facility threw a party for her April 15, and the next day an open house was hosted by Starkey Road Baptist Church with 106 well-wishers in attendance. On April 17, friends and family gathered at Stacey's Buffet in Clearwater, and April 18 she was honored at the close of the service at Starkey Road Baptist Church.

She was born April 16, 1910, in Harris, Kan., to Christopher and Lizzie Oaks. She had two brothers, Emmett and Galen; and three sisters, Nellie, Elma and Lucile.

Mrs. Danielson was educated in Coleridge, Neb., and attended McPherson College.

She and her first husband, Ural Maupin, lived in Missouri until his death in 1964.

For 30 years, she worked in the elementary school systems of Kansas and Missouri before retiring in June 1976.

That same year, Mrs. Danielson came to Clearwater where she met her second husband, Widmer Danielson. He passed away in 1991.

Mrs. Danielson began the "Missionary Work Day" program for seniors at Starkey Road Baptist Church, where she still attends services every Sunday. The program continues under the direction of Mrs. Dorothy Bowers.

Every summer she traveled to Gull Lake, Mich., and Cedar Lake, Ind., to help out in the bookstores in two different Bible Conference Grounds.

Mrs. Danielson has an abiding interest in meeting new people and befriending them. She would host twice-weekly "get acquainted" parties for new church members at her home where they would talk, play "Florida Dominos," and pray for military personnel and the government.

She has no children, but enjoys being aunt to 12 nieces and nephews.

• • •

To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary April 30, Bob and Cathy Monti of Palm Harbor shared a glass of champagne with neighbors earlier in the day then sat down to a private dinner in their home. On the menu was their favorite dish, linguine with red clam sauce. An anniversary arrangement of 50 roses, one dozen each of red, pink, yellow and orange with two white flowers in the center, added meaningful decor to the special meal.

The Montis married April 30, 1960, in Detroit.

Both worked in the entertainment industry. Mrs. Monti, under her maiden and stage name "Cathy Johnson" recorded with Columbia Records and made national television appearances on The Arthur Godfrey Show and The Liberace Show. She also appeared with Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers and others.

Mr. Monti was his wife's musical arranger, conductor and provided guitar accompaniment.

During the couple's 40-year entertainment career, they performed at nightclubs and hotels across the country, including Playboy Clubs, the Copacabana in New York and Tokyo, and aboard the Queen Elizabeth on its way to England.

They also entertained military troops during the Vietnam War while on Far East tours in 1969 and 1970.

The Montis have performed at various clubs on the beach since moving to Palm Harbor in 1985 from Downers Grove, Ill.

To submit an item , write to Nova Beall, 710 Court Street, Clearwater, FL 33756. Fax to (727) 445-4119 or e-mail Good For You includes news of 50th wedding anniversaries, people celebrating their 100th birthday (or more) and young people's noteworthy achievements academically, in the arts or community service. For information or an anniversary form, call (727) 445-4221.

Woman's storied life stretches to 102 years 05/04/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 6:37pm]
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