Florence & Father Bill
Ever wonder what it would be live to be 100 years old? How about 103?
Just ask Bloomingdale resident Florence Geurink, who recently celebrated her 103rd birthday. Geurink has survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, she has seen man walk on the moon, gone from horse and buggy to modern car and seen much more.
In 1906, when she was born, the national average price of a three-bedroom home was $2,400; a new Ford automobile was $750.
A stamp only cost two cents; in May of this year, the cost of a stamp will jump from 42 cents to 44.
A gallon of milk and a gallon of gas cost the same price: 28 cents.
The New York Times was only one cent per issue and the annual income per family was just $486 per year.
Geurink was born in Davenport, Iowa and lived there up until 2005, when she moved to Valrico to live with her youngest daughter, Liz McGlaughlin, who she said is the biggest and best part of her life, along with her three other daughters, “because she takes such good care of me.”
Liz McLaughlin is an account executive with the Tampa Tribune, working as an outside retail sales representative in the Brandon area for 10 years. She first moved to the Valrico area in 1998 with her husband Chuck, who since passed away five years ago.
The Parish in Geurink’s hometown, Our Lady of Victory, honored her in its newsletter and, as a result, she received well over 103 birthday cards. For her 100th birthday, three years ago, Geurink received a letter from both President George W. Bush and the Today Show’s Willard Scott.
She has attended St. Stephen Catholic Church, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico, since she moved to Florida in 2005. She used to attend mass daily, but now goes at 4 p.m. every Saturday and has a front-row seat reserved for her.
“The people at St. Stephen’s have been very good,” McLaughlin said. “When she fell, she was in the hospital for about a week and then in Hawthorne Village and someone came everyday at lunchtime and bring her communion.”
Some of Geurink’s hobbies include knitting afghans for every one of her children, grandchildren and friends. She also likes to play card games like Bridge, Rummy and Solitaire, play Dominoes, and read. Her favorite authors are Danielle Steele and James Patterson. Her favorite television show is Dancing with the Stars and her two favorite movies are The Sound of Music and Pretty Woman.
Geurink was married to her husband, Clem for 73 years, and said that her marriage to him is her best memory looking back, “and the birth of my daughters,” she said.
In addition to her four daughters, Geurink has 15 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. She attributes her longevity to “good genes, hard work, a lot of faith and eating a piece of chocolate candy every day” except during Lent when she gives it up.

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Jennifer is the Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer, having climbed the corporate ladder from intern in 2007. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. She lives in Channing Park with her husband, Eric, and their two dogs.