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Lucille Driver collected stories - and even made a few.

Lucille Driver and her husband spent their first date right next to a Dumpster.

"Maybe a few feet away, so that the smell wouldn't get to them," said her eldest son, Lonewolf Driver.

It was an unpromising beginning, perhaps. But the night by the Dumpster led the young couple to a marriage of nearly 50 years.

And it provided them with a favorite family story, among hundreds of such stories Mrs. Driver would collect over the years. From early in her marriage until late in her life, she devoted herself to researching the Driver family's history, eventually writing and self-publishing six books of family history.

A seventh book was in the works, but it was left unfinished when Mrs. Driver died July 15 after several months of declining health. She was 83.

She was born Lucille Melhuish in rural Pennsylvania, the only daughter of a chicken farmer.

She earned a college degree in radiology technology and worked in that field until her first, brief marriage to Harvey Bennett. After that marriage ended, she worked as a secretary at an Army base in North Carolina. It was there, on a blind date arranged by her co-workers, that she met Sgt. David Driver.

"The GIs she worked with, they looked out for her," Lonewolf Driver said. "They were like big brothers."

For an unknown reason, Driver chose to meet his date near a Dumpster on the base. They sat there, got acquainted and fell in love.

They married in 1954, and she spent the next several decades as an Army wife, moving from base to base and spending long periods alone with her three children when her husband was overseas.

"She served her time in the military," Lonewolf Driver said, "even though she never enlisted."

Her husband's retirement brought the couple to Florida in the 1960s. They ran a small mobile home park in Gibsonton together, and Mrs. Driver worked another job as a secretary.

"She always worked, but she was also the one who took care of the house," her son said. "Our house was always above average, I'd say. No complaints."

They moved to Brandon in the 1980s.

It was about 45 years ago that she started becoming interested in genealogy. She chose to concentrate on her husband's lineage rather than her own. "She was an only child and the last of the Melhuish line," her son said. "But there were lots of Drivers."

The advent of computers and the Internet has led many people into genealogy, but Mrs. Driver preferred the old-fashioned approach.

She and her husband traveled constantly, visiting cemeteries, calling on families that might have been related and gathering anecdotes. She traced the family's lineage back to England in the 1700s.

"They went all over, chasing down one lead after another," her son said.

She chronicled her findings in a series of self-published books that she sold mostly to distant relatives around the country.

"They could be businessmen, they could be cattle ranchers, they could be horse thieves," Lonewolf Driver said. "She put it all down. She never liked the computer; she did it all on her typewriter."

She gave up the hobby about the time her husband died, about eight years ago. She had completed five volumes about the Driver family and one about the Melhuish family. She had started one about her mother's family.

"We still get calls, even today, from people who want to buy her books," Lonewolf Driver said.

In addition to her son Lonewolf, Mrs. Driver is survived by a son, Paul Driver, daughter Rebecca Driver and three grandchildren. A viewing is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. this evening at Stowers Funeral Home in Brandon, with services afterward.