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Holiday woman celebrates 109 years

(ran PW edition)

Daphne E. Brann hopes to be able to say that she has lived in three centuries.

Daphne E. Twigg Brann turned 109 on Aug. 4 and is believed to be the oldest resident of Pasco County.

She is less than six months away from her goal of being able to say that she has lived in three centuries. She believes Jesus will come in 2000.

Born Daphne Twigg on Aug. 4, 1890, in Maryland, she was the eighth of 10 children in her family.

During the 1900s, she first rode in an automobile when she was 23; she learned Gregg shorthand and how to type on an Underwood typewriter. At that time, many secretaries were men.

She was employed as a stenographer when she met her future husband, Oliver Brann. He had been an ordained minister in the United Brethren for five years when they married in 1916. She was 26. They both became ordained ministers in the Assembly of God in 1917. Together they pioneered a number of Assembly of God churches through the years before he retired in 1950. He died a year later.

Mrs. Brann continued to be active in the church and still attends church every Sunday morning at First Assembly of God Church on Trouble Creek Road in New Port Richey.

A birthday celebration is planned at the church in her honor from 2 to 4 p.m. today. The Sonshine Harmony Boys will present a program of Southern gospel music. Among the guests will be her grandson Kenneth Chichester and his wife, Nancy, of Phoenix; her granddaughter Bonnie Olsen and her husband, Richard, of New Port Richey; and her granddaughter Rita Picard and her husband, Gene, of St. Petersburg. Mrs. Picard will sing in the choir with members from her church, Suncoast Cathedral of St. Petersburg. Her daughter Margo Calabrese and her husband, Sam, with whom she lives in Holiday, will attend. Also attending will be her daughter Naomi Helsel and her husband, Herb, of New Port Richey; grandson Don Helsel and his wife, Sherryie, of Orlando; and friends Betty Malz, an author, and her husband, Carl, a minister, of Crystal Beach. Mrs. Brann's grandson David Chichester and his wife, Margaret, are unable to attend.

In honor of her birthday, Mrs. Brann received a telephone call from Gov. Jeb Bush and calls from several county commissioners, was interviewed on television Channel 13 and is on the Internet. Explaining the Internet, she said, "It's out there somewhere, but I'm glad I'm on it."

Mrs. Brann has never been reluctant to try new things. She has traveled extensively in the United States attending church functions and became a jet setter at 100,. She fulfilled a lifelong wish by visiting the Holy Land in celebration of her 104th birthday, traveling with her grandson Kenneth Chichester. She said she was thrilled to attend the 1999 Prophecy Conference in Tampa this year and plans to attend the 48th General Council of the Assemblies of God on Tuesday at the Convention Center in Orlando. She will be accompanied by Bonnie and Richard Olsen.

Her advice for a long life is to keep fit physically and spiritually.