One of Heritage Centers original residents was surprised Friday for her 90th Birthday with a party. Not only were Louise A Winn’s two daughters, Connie Hughes and Ann Glass present, but also were her granddaughter and some of her great-grandchildren from Boulder, Colo.

The former Curtis Elementary was converted into 62 apartments for self sufficient seniors and handicapped residents.

Winn was one of the first to move into her new apartment in March of 1981, retiring after 31 years as a surgical nurse from Orange Memorial Hospital. Winn said she has lived through two hurricanes and four administrators at the Heritage Center.

She stayed in her apartment and weathered Hurricane Ike at home. “I lost my car. I looked outside and could only see the top of it.” Some of the residents living on the first floor were evacuated by boat. Since Winn lived on the second floor, she stayed.

“We didn’t have any lights, but we had gas, so we could cook,” she said. Winn said the residents pooled their food together to cook and sat on the balcony to eat.

“I love to cook,” said Winn. “If I hadn’t been a nurse, I would have been a chef.” She received many cookbooks for her birthday as a confirmation of that statement.

When Winn first moved into the center, she did a lot of the gardening helping create the landscape; today, not so much. “I told my doctor that my brain and body aren’t working together anymore. My brain says I can do it and my body says I can’t.”

“Grandma, where your apartment is was one of my classrooms,” said granddaughter, Jenny Edmund. She said her fourth grade classroom was part of her grandmother’s apartment.

Winn has two daughters, four granddaughters and one grandson, 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

She feels her long life can be attributed to the fact, “I never drank, never smoked and led a good Christian life. I guess genes have something to do it too.”

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.