By Becky Huber, President
Lakewood Historical Society
The halls of Thornewood Castle rang with laughter, lively conversation and music on Wednesday night as a host of family and friends celebrated Elizabeth Poinsett’s 99th birthday. I’m sure this was a momentous event for the Lakewood landmark that has hosted countless celebrations in its one hundred year history. Current owners, Wayne and Deanna Robinson, have lovingly restored and decorated the estate to its original condition, operating it as a bed and breakfast and hosting special occasions such as this one.
Generous measures of hugs and kisses were freely dispensed to “Betty” as she greeted her numerous well wishers. She “held court” attired in a royal purple pantsuit and wearing an exotic orchid corsage and a pink flashing “Birthday Girl” tiara. After everyone was assembled a digital photo slide show was presented highlighting her life ending with the singing of “Happy Birthday”. Cake and punch were served by Snuffin’s Catering. Entertainment followed with a lively rendition of the hula to the music of “Pearly Shells” with Elizabeth at the center of the group, reminiscent of her trips to Hawaii.
A native of Washington State, Elizabeth and her parents, Julius Mann and Iva Alice Wheeler Mann and her younger sister Kathryn moved to Lakewood in 1918. Their home was surrounded by prairie, the native landscape looking much like it did to the Indians. She attended Park Lodge School and graduated from Stadium High School in 1928. She often used the street car to “commute” because there were few paved roads and automobiles at the time. She pursued her teaching degree at the University of Puget Sound and graduated from the University of Washington in 1933. She married Ray Poinsett in 1944 and raised her two sons, Joel and John.
Her regular activities include gardening, travel and attending plays, concerts and baseball games. She entertains frequent guests by serving them tea or a home cooked meal. She has devoted her life to teaching and was still tutoring students in reading until a few years ago when health concerns “slowed her down”. This did necessitate bringing Sandra Godfrey into her life as her caregiver but these “minor” setbacks didn’t keep her from remaining active in her community. She continues to volunteer as docent for the Lakewood History Museum and was awarded Director Emeritus of the Lakewood Historical Society Board for her dedication to local history. She regularly attends the historic Little Church on the Prairie near her home.
When asked what has contributed to her longevity, she quickly responds that “living in the moment” and squeezing out the most enjoyment from each activity is what keeps her “young at heart”. Her indomitable spirit is an inspiration to everyone she meets, her zest for life is palatable and her winning smile will make any stranger a fast friend.
Elizabeth, may you have many, many, many more “moments” to cherish. As one of your devoted friends who attended this special event, I will treasure it for the rest of my life.Print This Post