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Creola Farrell Beaver to celebrate a century

BY: Community Papers of WNY Staff | October 25, 2012

LANCASTER- McGuire Group Harris Hill Nursing Facility Resident Creola Jamesina (Farrell) Beaver celebrated her 100th birthday at a special party in her honor Friday, Oct. 26 at the facility, located at 699 Wehrle Drive, in Lancaster.

Creola was born Oct. 27, 1912 in the Town of Collins. The name Creola means “American-born European,” which certainly fits since her father James Farrell emigrated from Ireland when he was 18. He made his living as a mason, building fireplaces, cellars, and sidewalks in Gowanda, where Creola lived as a child. Creola’s mother Coral Stickney Farrell was a homemaker. Creola had one sister, Eudora.

It’s hard for some of us to imagine living a century. Just think: Woodrow Wilson was president the year Creola was born, and he was still eight years away from giving women the vote. Later in her life, she saw a man walk on the moon and a woman run for president of the United States. She watched everyday life change immensely over time as one by one the inventions we take for granted came into the homes of Americans.

These weren’t Creola’s concerns, however, when she was a girl growing up in Gowanda. She joined the Girl Scouts, and she played in the Girl Scout Bugle Corp. She learned to play the piano, playing many of the songs that are now sung during activity programs at Harris Hill Nursing Facility.

When Creola graduated from high school, she prepared herself for a profession by attending and graduating from Bryant & Stratton College in the early 1930s. Her sister Eudora was a business teacher in North Tonawanda. Creola learned to drive a car as a young woman and she continued to drive until she was 92 years old.

Creola worked for an attorney before her 1935 marriage to Wilford Beaver of North Collins. They both loved to dance, and in fact, they met on the dance floor. They honeymooned in New York City and lived for a while afterward in Gowanda before moving to Buffalo. It was there they had their two children: James Wilford and Nancy Jane.

Wilford loved fishing, so the family spent their vacations in the Adirondacks and at Allegany State Park. Creola enjoyed knitting, crafting cooking and baking - and she was good at it. During the time she was married, she made beautiful ceramics. She even had a kiln in her basement. She continued to play the piano. She and Wilford still loved to dance, and they often danced on the Crystal Beach boat.

Nancy remembers Creola and Wilford as very giving and loving parents. Nancy and Creola were close, and on Friday nights mother and daughter would take the trolley down Humboldt to 99 Broadway or Sattlers. Creola liked to shop, and there were great stores in downtown Buffalo during those days: shops like Neisners, Keinhans, Bergners, and AM&A. Every Friday night the family would get a fish fry (99 cents) and a Coke (15 cents) at Salambas, at the corner of Rodney and Filmore Avenue in the Central Park area.

Later, Creola worked in the payroll office at the Sample Shop on Hertel Avenue and retired at age 65 from the American Steamship Company. Wilford worked for Rich Products until he retired.

In the 1970s they spent their winters in Bradenton, Fla., and in the early 1980s, they bought a home there in Breden Castle. They had fun playing in a kazoo band, shuffle boarding, and fishing from their small aluminum boat.

When Wilford’s health declined, they moved back to their home in Cheektowaga. In 1998, they built a patio home in the Parwood Community where Creola lived alone for several years after Wilford’s passing in 2001. Creola always loved animals and very much enjoyed dog-sitting for her grandson’s pug named Onyx, or Onnie, as she called him. Onyx was a frequent visitor at Creola’s house and gave her much company for several years until she had to give up housekeeping and move to assisted living.

Presently she has two children, four grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren. Creola’s extended family at Harris Hill Nursing Facility is also excited to share in her special day.

Harris Hill Nursing Facility provides 24-hour skilled nursing care, subacute and outpatient rehab, memory care and respite/short-term care. For more information visit www.mcguiregroup.com.

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