City resident Alice Ann Pruett, left, is pictured on her 100th birthday Friday accompanied by Campbell Place staff Ray Seymour, Sam Polling, Stephanie Carter and Pruett’s friend Cheryl Dye at the Bellefontaine Airport. Her birthday wish to take a flight was postponed until Monday because of the weather conditions. (EXAMINER PHOTO | Mandy Loehr)
Pruett’s birthday celebration planned for today at Campbell Place
A special Logan County resident who is no stranger to flying the friendly skies, and even has flown and landed an airplane on one occasion in her earlier years, had a special request for her 100th birthday, which she marked Friday, Aug. 25.
Alice Ann Pruett told her friends at Campbell Place, where she has resided for nearly nine years, that her one birthday wish was to take an airplane ride from the Bellefontaine Regional Airport to the Airport Café in Urbana for lunch.
For those feeling a little nervous about riding an airplane, the new centenarian said not to sweat it.
“I’ve taken many airplane rides. There’s nothing to be afraid of,” said Mrs. Pruett, who was born in 1923 an upstairs room at 620 N. Detroit St., Bellefontaine, to Chester and Ilo Danner Reynolds and remembers much of her local upbringing.
“I even flew home from Germany in a cargo plane with my husband, after he was stationed there in the Air Force.”
Campbell Place Maintenance Director Ray Seymour said after learning about Mrs. Pruett’s birthday idea, he reached out to staff at the Bellefontaine Regional Airport, who were enthusiastic about making her wish come true and preparations were readied for her flight.
Friday morning, Mrs. Pruett arrived at the airport with her Campbell Place staff and other loved ones to mark the occasion.
“When do we get to fly?” the birthday honoree asked enthusiastically while posing for pictures.
However, Friday’s overcast weather conditions did not clear in time for her to enjoy a flight. So now Mrs. Pruett’s birthday flight is rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 28, when sunny skies are in the forecast.
The 100-year-old, who has resided in Bellefontaine for most of her life, still got to enjoy a birthday lunch at the Airport Café with Campbell Place staff, along with family friend Thomasyne Nobles, who traveled from Mississippi to see her, her local caregivers Cheryl and Rick Dye and other loved ones. Nobles said her mother, JoAnn Rosebrook, who passed away about 10 years ago, was Mrs. Pruett’s best friend growing up in Bellefontaine.
The celebration continues this weekend, with Mrs. Pruett’s 100th birthday party planned for 2 to 4 p.m. today, Saturday, Aug. 26, at Campbell Place, 356 Kent Drive, Bellefontaine.
Mrs. Pruett is excited to see friends from over her many years, and individuals from different states are planning to attend. She is a welcoming face to new residents at the senior living center as well.
“She is such a part of the community; she knows everybody,” said Stephanie Carter, Campbell Place senior lifestyle counselor and LPN.“When a new resident comes in, she’ll say, ‘I know them from church or from their workplace or etc.’”
Mrs. Pruett also recently recounted her own impressive flying skills to her longtime friend and former neighbor, Louise Norris.
“Alice Ann was a next-door neighbor of mine on north Main Street for nearly 25 years and we have remained good friends through the years,” Mrs. Norris said after the pair visited earlier this month. “She is a remarkable lady and is still healthy and her mind is as they say, ‘sharp as a tack.’
“She has so many great stories about her life in Bellefontaine and Logan County and she loves reminiscing about days gone by and how much Bellefontaine and Logan County has changed over the past 100 years.”
The 100-year-old told Mrs. Norris about a time when she and her husband, Bill, were stationed in Missouri and an Air Force colonel offered Bill flying lessons, but he didn’t know how pay for them. So the colonel said if Alice Ann would do some bookkeeping for him, he would give Bill the flying lessons.
“Alice Ann did the bookkeeping and Bill took lessons, but had problems with his vision and couldn’t land the plane, so he wasn’t able to get a pilot’s license,” Mrs. Norris explained.
“Alice Ann loved to fly and the colonel took her up in a plane one day and then told her to take the controls, although she had never flown a plane. She took the controls, flew the plane and even landed it.”
Alice Ann’s husband, William “Bill” Pruett, whom she met when he was stationed in Bellefontaine with the 664th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron and later married on Aug. 8, 1953, passed away on June 18, 1969, at the age of 45.
Mrs. Pruett also went to work for the Logan County Clerk of Courts office in 1969. Janet Lane was clerk of courts then Alice Ann served as the deputy clerk. Mrs. Pruett retired from that office in 1983.
A member for many years of the Bellefontaine First Christian Church, Mrs. Pruett later attended the Bellefontaine Church of Christ on State Route 540 near U.S. Route 33. She also volunteered at Huntsville Elementary School and then at Southeastern Elementary in Bellefontaine, helping children learn to read.
Now a spry 100-year-old, Mrs. Pruett was a longtime avid walker and often walked from her home to Southeastern Elementary and back home again, Mrs. Norris related. During bad weather in the winter, she kept up her exercise routine by walking in her basement.
In 2015, Alice Ann sold her childhood home at 1015 N. Main St., Bellefontaine, where her family moved when she was 5, and moved to Campbell Place.
For many years, Mrs. Pruett collected just about anything that was related to “Snoopy” the cartoon character written by Charles Shultz. She still displays some of her “Snoopy” things both inside her room at Campbell Place and outside in the hall by her door.
Alice Ann Pruett stands Friday in front of the Bellefontaine Regional Airport on her 100th birthday. Her birthday celebration continues today from 2 to 4 p.m. at Campbell Place, 356 Kent Drive. (EXAMINER PHOTO | Mandy Loehr)