My mother’s mother lived until three weeks before her 92 birthday and my beloved Nana’s older sister lived until a week before her 100th birthday, so long life thankfully runs in my family.

Even so, both my Nan and Great Aunt Molly were still quite a few years younger when they passed than New Tampa resident Frances Brassey, who just celebrated her 106th birthday last month.

Frances is a resident of The Legacy at Highwoods Preserve Assisted Living & Memory Care (a Lifewell Senior Living community), located at 18600 Highwoods Preserve Pkwy. (where West Meadows meets Richmond Place) who was born on October 4, 1912 “the same year the Titanic sunk,” Frances reminded folks in attendance at her birthday party at The Legacy.

Frances got to celebrate her 106th birthday with her son Wayne and her daughter-in-law Dorothy at an event attended not only by her family and the other residents and staff at The Legacy, but also by District 38 State Rep. Shawn Harrison and District 2 Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist, both of whom not only posed for pictures and chatted with Frances and her family, they also each brought a framed item for Frances to keep.

Comm. Crist’s was a proclamation, signed by all seven commissioners, that said, “The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to recognize Frances Brassey on the celebratory occasion of her 106th birthday, and applauds her for uplifting, inspiring and sharing knowledge with people throughout her well-traveled life.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Harrison brought a framed letter he wrote to Frances that said “It’s good to be able to celebrate with you again. I’m so happy to share this special day with you. You are a great inspiration, and I’m sure that your full life has impacted many people in many positive ways.”

Although I didn’t get to talk to Frances because I got there a little late, as the party went into it’s third hour, but I could see how much Frances loves The Legacy and her fellow residents.

And, when asked about the secret to her long life, Frances said, “drinking a Coke a day,” which is not only a pretty decent testament to Coca-Cola, it also reminded me of something said at a luncheon following my Great Aunt Molly’s funeral, which was held at a Jewish delicatessen in North Miami.
My cousin Arthur, the younger of Molly’s sons, asked everyone to raise their sandwich as he said, “Mom, you always said the salted, cured meats and French fries were the secrets to long life, and after almost 100 years of life, who could argue with you?” I’m pretty sure no one’s arguing with Frances, either.

The Legacy also recently welcomed two new top-level staff members — executive director Virginia Rice and chef Dennis Millet.

For more information about or to schedule a tour of The Legacy, visit or call (813) 375-9858.

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