It was a packed house at the Alpena Senior Citizens Center on May 20 as Edna Manning was named the 2012 Alpena County Outstanding Older Citizen. The announcement was made at the center's sixth annual Older Americans Month celebration dinner.
Those who nominated Manning said she "epitomizes growing old gracefully and healthfully." At age 98, she keeps busy baking bread, taking care of her garden, canning the produce, traveling to visit relatives, making quilts for her family (including 32 grandchildren, 51 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren), riding her three-wheel bike and volunteering for Hospice.
Manning is an active member of the Have-a-Heart Quilt Group that meets every Tuesday at the center. She usually has a quilt, an afghan or some other fun project she is working on at home. She always takes an interest in whatever project others are working on, asking questions that reflect her interest and intelligence.
Edna Manning joined the Alpena Senior Citizens Center Outstanding Older Citizen Winners Circle as this year’s honoree. Shown with her are, from left, Ken Johnson, 2007; Margie Pahlkotter, 2009; Joyce Gohlke, 2010; and Dodi Lance, 2011. Missing from the picture is Sandi Johnson, 2008 winner.
Manning has a beautiful garden at her home, and a wealth of knowledge about gardening that she shares and passes on. The younger members of her family take care of the heavier work of gardeing, but she still take an active role in planning, harvesting and cooking the fresh vegetables.
Most years, Manning enters vegetables and flowers from her garden at the Alpena County Fair. She also enters knitting and sewing projects or her delicious baked goods. She has received Homemaker of the Year with her entries.
At the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan, for many years now she has helped bring history alive for visitors at Log Cabin Day and Fall Harvest Day. Wearing one of several period outfits she has made, she cheerfully greets those who come to the see the cabin and answers their questions.
She tells them about what life was like when she visited there as a child. Her uncle owned and lived in the cabin long before homes had electric lights, running water and indoor plumbing.
Manning's volunteer work with Hospice involves her making teddy bears out of cherished pieces of clothing that belonged to loves ones who have passed away.
Several special people were honored at the dinner along with Manning, including the other two nominees for the award: Florence Neumann and Pastor Jack Williams.
The event also paid tribute to the center's exclusive 100-Plus Club. Four of the five club members were in attendance: Ada Precour (age 102), Esther Liske (age 101), Erna Kinsel (age 100) and Lucille Andres (age 100). The eldest club member, Ethel LaHaie (age 105) was unable to attend.
Paying tribute to the honorees at the dinner were Rep. Peter Pettalia, County Commissioner Ken Hubbard and Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora.
Several past Outstanding Older Citizen Award winners were also at the event, including Ken Johnson, 2007; Margie Pahlkotter, 2009; Joyce Gohlke, 2010; and Dodi Lance, 2011.