Laura Abbott has always loved to shop. When she lived in Allentown, she was often seen walking up steep Allen Avenue with a shopping bag on each arm filled with her finds Downtown. On Saturday, she celebrated her 100th birthday with 65 friends and relatives from as far away as New York, Texas and Florida.
She was born on Jan. 5, 1913, on the South Side, the middle of Joseph and Nellie Obar's three children. She attended St. Adalbert's School and moved with her family to Allentown in the late 1920s. During the Depression, she worked in the ticket office of the Warner Theater, Downtown, to help support her family.
On July 3, 1940, she married Howard "Bus" Abbott after a courtship of more than six years. They had one son, David of Collier, and were married for 52 years. Mr. Abbott, who worked for The Pittsburgh Press, died in July 1992. Mrs. Abbott, a member of the St. George/St. John Vianney Christian Mothers and St. John Vianney prayer group, continued to live in Allentown until age 93. Six years ago, she moved to Asbury Heights in Mt. Lebanon, where she is a regular at bingo and other daily activities. She has two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Rowing on the river
Edward Brazier Jr. grew up on Butler Street on the banks of the Allegheny River. So he knew what to do when the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers flooded on St. Patrick's Day in 1936: He and some friends took a rowboat onto the river to take people to safety.
He was born Jan. 5, 1913, in Morningside, the sixth of nine children born to Edward Brazier and Fanny Walker. He attended Morningside Elementary and began working to support his family during the Depression. At age 17, he got a job at Heppenstall Steel in Lawrenceville and retired when he was 63.
In 1941, he married Rita C. Morrissey, and they had two children, Edward John Brazier of Clarion and Pamela Brazier Dmitrzak of Shaler. His wife died in 2000, and Mr. Brazier continues to live in Shaler. In the summer, he plays golf twice a week and in the winter, he bowls in a league or works out at Bodytech. Mr. Brazier celebrated at a birthday party with friends and family, including his four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She celebrated twice
Ethel McPherson had two celebrations for her 100th birthday: a party at Tanglewood Senior Center on Dec. 29 and a family reunion in July where she was the center of attention.
The former Ethel Means was born in Butler on Jan. 2, 1913. She married Lynn Scott in Sharon, and they had two sons, Lynn of York, Va., and James of King George, Va. She worked as a seamstress and was a resident director at Slippery Rock University until she retired in 1972.
After her husband died, she married Paul McPherson of Butler. She was a member of Calvary Presbyterian Church and now attends worship services at Concordia at the Orchard, where she has lived for 11 years. Mrs. McPherson, who has five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, enjoys playing cards and used to quilt in her spare time. When asked her secret for a long life, she said:
"Nothing. I don't do anything different. I eat and sleep like everyone else."
If you or a friend or a relative recently turned 100 or will soon do so, the Post-Gazette would like to hear from you. To be included in Century Club, send the honoree's biographical information and your phone number to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Century Club, Attn: Kevin Kirkland, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Fax: 412-491-8452. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.