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A sweet celebration of 106 years

The years have been sweet and abundant for Ruth Alexander. On Thursday the bright-eyed and popular resident of Mease Continuing Care in Dunedin celebrated 106 years with birthday cake and ice cream shared with friends and staff of the facility where she has lived the last four years.

When Mrs. Alexander was born Nov. 14, 1896, in Erie County, Pa., Victoria was queen of England, automobiles and telephones were novelties, and people merely dreamed about flying.

"I've certainly seen a lot of change," Mrs. Alexander said.

To help support her family during the Depression, she designed custom jewelry that her husband sold.

"In general, I've had a sweet life," she said with a smile.

She married Rex Alexander in 1918. They had two sons and retired to Brooksville in 1963. Her husband died in 1967.

In 1970 she moved into the independent living retirement community at Mease Manor Dunedin, where she maintained her own apartment until 1998. At the age of 102, she decided she needed a little more help and transferred to Mease Continuing Care.

To cut down on family expenses and to exercise her creativity, Mrs. Alexander designed and made all her own and her family's clothes. At Mease Manor, she headed the sewing committee for 20 years and one of her major projects was making bagpipe covers for the Dunedin High School Band.

Mrs. Alexander always has loved window shopping, and right up to the century mark she walked daily from Mease Manor to downtown Dunedin. Although not as mobile these days, she is not inclined to miss out. She continued to sew until last year and plays bingo every day. She attends weekly adult education classes at the facility.

Her favorite thing is visits, and hearing from her four grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Anniversaries

Bea and Gene Holmes of Palm Harbor recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a family party in Southern California and a Hawaiian vacation. They were married Sept. 28, 1952, at St. Joseph's, New York.

They first came to Florida as winter visitors in 1983, moved to Jupiter in 1991 and came here permanently in 1994. He is a retired Ford, Buick and Mazda auto dealer. He is a former director of New York State Auto Dealers Association. He is a Marine Corps veteran (1945-1949). She is a homemaker. They have three sons, two daughters and 10 grandchildren.

They are members of Espiritu Santo Catholic Church in Safety Harbor, where he is a member of Knights of Columbus and she is active in the church's Women's Club and the Lansbrook Neighbors Club.

Avid golfers, they are members of Cypress Run Golf Club. He is a five-time winner of the Long Island Seniors Championship, 13-time winner of North Hills Men's Club Championship, also in Long Island, two-time winner of the Loxahatchee Club Championship in Jupiter and Club Champion 2000 at Cypress Run. She is a three-time winner of the Ladies Club Championship at North Hills and two time bowling champion. They were team captains for many years of the Metropolitan New York golf team and six-time, record-setting winners of the Metropolitan's Husband & Wife Championship. He was the chairman of the first $100,000 Thunderbird Classic (PGA tournament), which is now called the Westchester Classic _ a fundraiser for hospitals.

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