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Centennarian Witteveen finally persuaded to hold a birthday party

Always spent January 1 well-wishing

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

HOLLAND, Michigan - Pauline Witteveen never wanted a birthday party but finally was persuaded into one. Witteveen who was born Pauline Bosch in the formerly Dutch settlement of Western Michigan on January 1, 1900, always spent her birthdays visiting family. This time, a family member organized a dinner party for Witteveen, for her 83-year-old husband Martin and about 20 family members and friends.

The centenarian married 52 years ago with the de-listed soldier, a member of her congregation, whom she had been writing with from 1942 onwards after the local minister urged his flock to keep contact with the men who were serving in the U.S. Army. When Martin Witteveen returned home after seven years he proposed to his most devoted correspondent, figuring a woman that faithful would make a good wife.

Pauline kept the books for Martin's construction business after he struck out on his own, and cared for her aging parents. Of all the events in her long life, the thrill of her first ride in an automobile still is fondly recalled. These days, she usually relies on a wheelchair to get around in the care facility and passes time reading books and magazines.