1. Archive

Three centenarians celebrate birthdays

Ella Beck of Palm Harbor celebrated her 103rd birthday Feb. 24 with her son, Wilbur Beck, and his family in Palm Harbor.

She came here in 1991 from Forest Hills, N.Y., and lives at St. Mark Village continuing care community, Palm Harbor.

She traveled daily by subway until her 85th birthday to work at the Baptist Residence for Women in Manhattan, N.Y., and was past president of the organization.

+ + +

Mauritz Swanson of Palm Harbor celebrated his 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends at St. Mark Village where he has lived for the past 15 years.

He was born Feb. 25, 1903, in Chicago, to John and Hilda Swanson, immigrants from southern Sweden. His father died when he was 11 and the family was split among relatives. As the eldest, Swanson stayed with his mother in Chicago and at age 15, with only one year of high school, he went to work as an office boy for Illinois Steel Co. (later called U.S. Steel).

He completed his education at night including a two-year course at the YMCA Business School in Chicago and learned cost accounting. In 1939, Swanson became a cost analyst.

In 1940 he married Anna. In 1952 the couple, who now had two sons, Alan and Robert, moved to northern Indiana. In 1953 he joined U.S. Steel at the Gary, Ind., plant and retired from that company in 1967.

In 1970, the Swansons moved to Sheffield, England, where they lived for 18 months. The couple came here in 1988, and they had been married 56 years when Anna died in 1996.

His sons, Allen, who lives in Holland, and Robert of California and several nieces were at the celebration. He has two granddaughters, Tiffany of Idaho and Katri of Colorado.

He enjoys sports and was active in golf and tennis late in life. He also enjoyed travel.

He was an active member of the Lutheran Church and helped in the St. Marks facility library for four years. He liked that job because he was able to check out all the new books. He enjoys reading about history, politics and sports and thinks there's nothing like a good murder-mystery every now and then.

The centenarian says that the important things for a good life are "good health, good friends and good conversation," and adds, "mother took care of me for 35 years, Anna for 56. Now, the Lord takes care of me."

+ + +

Lorie Ethel (Weidenhamer) Crain of Clearwater celebrated her 100th birthday with a party at Palm Garden of Clearwater nursing home hosted by her children, Jacqueline Szerlong of Palm Harbor and William Grain of Galesburg, Ill.

She was born March 4, 1903, in Galesburg. Her parents were Mae and William Weidenhamer and her father was a railroad conductor. She married Kenneth Crain, also a railroad man, on June 29, 1922.

Her husband retired in 1967 from CB&Q Railroad and the couple came to this area in 1976. Before moving into Palm Garden, she lived at Lake Highland Mobile Home Park in Palm Harbor and later at Grove House in Dunedin.

The Crains were married 69 years when Mr. Crain died in 1991. She has seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.

Her philosophy for life is "Accept what comes and live one day at a time."

_ For information or anniversary form, call 445-4109. To submit an item to Good for You, write to Betsy Bolger-Paulet, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756; or call (727) 445-4109, send fax to 727-445-4119 or e-mail to