By Michelle Colesanti

Irene Guadagno, a resident at Whispering Willows in Valrico, has seen a lot of changes in her lifetime. At a recent Campo Y SilverSneakers® picnic at the Y’s Camp Cristina, over 300 people helped her celebrate her 100th birthday, which was on October 2.

One of eight children, she was a first generation American, her parents having emigrated from Italy. In order to help keep the family going, she had to quit school as a teenager and go to work. One of those jobs was working for a tobacco company rolling leaves. She married her husband, Morris Guadagno, in the 1930’s. Both were born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut. They moved several times and eventually ended up in Brandon; which turned out to be a lucky move. Their home prior was in Homestead, Florida, and it was demolished in Hurricane Andrew shortly after they moved to Brandon. They were married almost 50 years and had two children, Corinne Schramm, who lives locally and is a Zumba instructor at the Campo Y and a son, Tom Guadagno, who lives in Madison, FL.

After her husband passed away, she eventually was married again to Mel Hanna for about 15 years. Bowling was one of her favorite pastimes.  She has many pins and trophies for high scores including bowling a ‘300’ game.  Dancing was another passion. Regarding her mom’s dancing, Schramm said, “My Mom and Dad danced all the time and after he passed away she liked to do line dancing.  It was fun for her on Friday nights at the Elks to start the line dancing, and her favorite was New York New York.”

This was the 5th annual SilverSneaker’s® Picnic and all the participants enjoyed the entertainment and food. Sandy Nitch, from Riverview, performed for the crowd and Gary Rendolf was DJ. Those attending also played outdoor games, bingo and danced to the music. BBQ was served while Chick-fil-A provided salads, cookies and tea. Hot dogs were sponsored by The Bridges Assisted Living Facility. Water and breakfast bars were donated by Coventry Health Insurance. Chips were donated by Humana and Board Member, Mille Carreno, donated snacks. Y Members, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Shelton, donated hamburgers.

Their next event is Thanksgiving feast for Campo members.

For more information, visit or call 684-1371.

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Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.