Bushnell hospice patient reaches 102!

Date:  Tuesday, January 11, 2011                                                                                   

Contact: Manny P. Hernandez

                Manager, Public Information


 Patient Puffinburger 102 Bushnell 1-11-11



BUSHNELL --  Serving forty-six years as one of the founders and elders of his Lutheran church, cutting the grass at the church until age 95 and delivering meals-on-wheels as a volunteer into his nineties, Oscar B. Puffinburger (age 102) of Bushnell is the kind of volunteer any organization could only dream about! Puffinburger observed his 102nd birthday on January 5 surrounded by family and friends who came to Bushnell from as far as Hilton Head, South Carolina and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and surrounded as well by his Cornerstone Hospice care team.


“There is a general misconception when Hospice is associated with the last few days of life”, pointed out Pat Lehotsky, CEO and president of not-for-profit Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care, “We rejoice in being able to participate in this emotional celebration of life by the entire Puffinburger family, and we are very proud our superb care team contributes to this patient’s comfort and quality of life.” Adding their support to the proceedings, Cornerstone Hospice care team members added their congratulations on their patient’s 102nd milestone, with care group including Jeanette Ragusa, registered nurse; Kim Kubicina social worker; Angie Tibbetts, licensed practical nurse and Larry Stephens, chaplain, spiritual care counselor.


Born when Wright Brothers delivered first fabric biplane to U.S. Army!

Born in West Virginia in 1909, relatives at the Puffinburger household reminisce, that was the year when Orville and Wilbur Wright delivered their first fabric-covered biplane to the U.S. Army Air Corps; it was the year actress Mary Pickford made her silent screen debut at age 16; it was the year the typical movie was 10 to 12 minutes in length; it was the year U.S. forces left Cuba for the second time since the Spanish-American War; and 1909 was the year French flyer de Lambert set an airplane altitude world record of an unprecedented 300 meters.

While growing up at the family's West Virginia farm, Oscar Puffinburger remembers harvesting apples, peaches, potatoes, tending to pigs, and milking cows daily several hours before dawn. Also sadly remembers losing a brother in 1917 during World War I, and in the same sentence mentions having been married three times, having son Bryan Puffinburger from Hilton Head, SC; daughter Lorraine Rossow of Bushnell, FL; daughter Joyce Knestaut of Zephyrhills, FL and son Ben Puffinburger of Pittsburg, PA. These sons and daughters have given "Pappy" as he is known, nineteen grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

Fran Sykora, RN and regional team manager for Cornerstone Hospice indicated that "we on our Gold Team (covering Sumter County) know that it is our honor to be part of such a milestone. As we care for dying patients day-to-day, it is so uplifting to our care team when we have an opportunity to celebrate special events or a birthday of this magnitude with our patients and know that our mission is about living."

Puffinburger is one of the founders of the Ruskin Calvary Lutheran Church of Ruskin, just south of Tampa, where Oscar cut the grass for more than thirty-one years until age ninety-five, served as a meals-on-wheels volunteer into his nineties and simultaneously worked at the church thrift store.   


Secrets to healthy longevity revealed

When asked about his secrets for a long and healthy life, “Pappy” Puffinburger sat back in his lounge chair, the chatter from a house full of people fell silent, while he  pronounced matter-of-factly gesturing his right index finger up in the air: “Live right, help anybody in any way you can and keep yourself busy, you’ll never get in trouble!.” At that, enthusiastic applause of approval was heard throughout the house. Although he used to smoke during his twenties, “Pappy” has remained a non-smoker for some eight decades.


The Puffinburger family has three of their grandchildren currently serving in the U.S. armed forces, Jerrod in U.S. Army; Joshua also in U.S. Army and Jonathan Leon serving with the U.S. Air Force, all three served in Afghanistan.

Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care, a not-for-profit community-based healthcare organization, has provided care and services since 1984 to central Florida patients and families experiencing life-limiting illnesses.  To learn more, call (352) 343-1341 or toll-free (888) 728-6234 or visit www.cornerstonehospice.org.















Accompanying “Pappy” Oscar Puffinburger (seated, bottom row) during observance of his 102nd birthday in Bushnell are: (bottom, left) Jenny Campbell. granddaughter; (bottom, right) Ben Puffinburger, son, from Pittsburgh, PA; (standing, left) Jeanette Ragusa, RN, Cornerstone Hospice; Wayne Campbell, grandson; Roger Michaud, son-in-law; Bryan Puffinburger, son, from Hilton Head, SC; Joyce Knestaut, daughter, from Zephyrhills; Gary Rossow, son-in-law; Lorraine Rossow, daughter, from Bushnell; Jerry Cunningham, grandson; Terry Knestaut, grandson and Larry Stephens, chaplain and spiritual care counselor, Cornerstone Hospice.