Community Voices

Miami Shores resident celebrates her 100th birthday with friends and family

100-year-old Jeanne G. Hutchinson prepares to blow out the candles on her birthday cake.
100-year-old Jeanne G. Hutchinson prepares to blow out the candles on her birthday cake. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Celebrating your 100th birthday is pretty special. Miami Shores resident Jeanne G. Hutchinson did just that on Sept. 7, when friends and family members threw her a party to mark the milestone.

The luncheon in her honor included two nephews from Pennsylvania and her niece from California, as well as many friends, who all pitch in to help her with errands, home repairs and walking her Cairn Terrier, Lucy.

Hutchinson is an avid bridge player at Miami Shores Country Club, where the celebration was held. She also reads the Miami Herald every day.

“She just might be your oldest subscriber,” said friend Mary Jane Stokesberry. “She has the Herald delivered every morning and insists on reading it that very day. She sits up in bed, has her Herald, and all is right with the world.”

And while Hutchinson fell recently, she is in good health.

She was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 7, 1916. Also on that day, the New York Giants beat Brooklyn 4-1 to start a baseball record, a 26-game winning streak. The day before, 100 years ago, America’s first true self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, opened its doors.

Hutchinson grew up to graduate from Shippensburg Teacher’s College in Pennsylvania and she taught preschool and kindergarten at Bryn Mawr Elementary until she joined the American Red Cross.

She served as an officer with the American Red Cross during World War II from 1943 to 1945 and was stationed at the U.S. Army Hospital housed at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

She fell in love with South Florida and moved here permanently to teach kindergarten in Miami in 1945. She taught on South Beach and at Little River Elementary School. She met Hobart Hutchinson in 1961.

“They were married, and a few years later, Hobe passed away in 1965,” Stokesberry said. Hutchinson continues to live in the home they shared in Miami Shores with Lucy, her dog and dearest companion.

Twenty-one friends and family members gathered to celebrate at her 100th birthday party. Among them was Stokesberry’s husband, John, who read a proclamation from the Miami Shores Village designating Sept. 7, 2016, as Jeanne G. Hutchinson Day.

“I am glad to live to be 100,” Hutchinson said. “It is something special to live that long. I hope to live a few years longer. It was so nice to have family and old friends at my party.”

DISABILITY AWARENESS

Every October we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual campaign to educate everyone about the many contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year, the theme is #InclusionWorks.

Miami Job Corps will participate again with activities and education about disability employment issues and the benefits of an inclusive work culture. Scheduled are in-class trainings, presentations and a day of fun educational activities on Oct. 14.

“Miami Job Corps is proud to, once again, be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month and demonstrate we value diverse perspectives, including those of individuals with disabilities,” said Mary Geoghegan, center director, in a release.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month dates back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The word “physically” was later removed and in 1988, the week was expanded to a month and the name was changed.

Employers and employees can learn more about participating and ways to spread awareness during October and throughout the year by visiting http://miami.jobcorps.gov/ and https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/index.htm

ALMOST-LOST HISTORY

American photographer Wyatt Gallery has documented in pictures some of the oldest Sephardic Jewish sites in the Western Hemisphere. His haunting photos preserve the little-known history of communities in the Caribbean and can now be viewed through Dec. 11 at the Jewish Museum of Florida — Florida International University, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.

Gallery’s photographs explore what is left of the historic sites in Barbados, Curaçao, Jamaica, Nevis, St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Suriname. These communities that date to the early 1600s are home to some of the oldest synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. They now face extinction.

Where once thousands of Sephardic Jews lived, only five synagogues remain and the original cemeteries are falling apart, or have been lost. The exhibit is called “Jewish Treasures from the Caribbean by Wyatt Gallery” and you can learn more and plan a visit to see the photos at https://jmof.fiu.edu/.

Wyatt Gallery’s photographs have been viewed throughout the world and are in major collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, George Eastman House, New Orleans Museum of Art and American Express.

FREE SYMPHONY CONCERT

Cello soloist Jason Calloway of the Amernet String Quartet will perform with Alhambra Orchestra at the first concert of its 27th season at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at FIU Wertheim Auditorium, 10910 SW 17th St., Miami.

The “Beethoven 5 Plus” performance will feature the always-popular Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with new artistic director Daniel Andai on the podium.

The orchestra also will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien Op. 45,” plus two works showcasing Calloway’s talents —David Popper’s “Hungarian Rhapsody” and “Silent Woods” by Antonín Dvořák.

Bring family and friends to this free feast of exciting masterworks, and stay for a post-concert reception, that includes dessert, to meet the musicians. Alhambra Orchestra has a mission to support music performance and education. No tickets or reservations are needed. For more, go to www.alhambramusic.org/.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.

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