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REACHING new heights at 90

When it comes to staying young, nobody does it like Jeanne Parrish.

“I’m not going to let this age stuff stop me if I can help it,” she said.

For her 90th birthday, the beloved retired educator went on her first hot air balloon ride over north Tampa, a gift from her son, on Dec. 17.

“I told those guys (at Tranquility Balloon rides), ‘I bet you right now we’ve got the oldest person in the air today,’ ” Paul Parrish said.

Getting up at 3:30 a.m, was worth it for the dawn ride, too. “It was wonderful,” said the spry gal who taught for 37 years in Manatee County, including 31 at Manatee High, and was voted the 2008 Outstanding MHS Alum.

Jeanne and best friend Camille Southerland, who went along despite a fear of flying, were airborne shortly after dawn and went soaring for an hour.

“People waved, we waved back. We saw deer and a coyote,” she said. “It was most peaceful, so quiet and I never thought it would be. This was way at the top of my life’s experiences.”

Can Jeanne top this?

“Oh, boy,” she said. “I’ll probably have to go skydiving for my 95th.”

n LRHS color guard Carly Bayer is “Sweet 16” on Monday.

n Last month’s Emmanuel United Methodist Church’s Fall Bazaar featured more than clothing, furniture, jewelry, luggage and plants. There was also a pancake flipping contest between Pastor Charlie Rentz and Tom Overmier.

n Props to the Bradenton Public Works and Utilities Department employees, who collected nearly 250 pounds of food and more than $100 for the annual Meals on Wheels Plus Food Drive.

City electrician Lynn Meier organized the event for the public works employees.

Vin’s People, runs Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Have a column item? A photo you want to share? Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or email him at Please include a phone number for verification.