Elder Care resident chosen queen of pageant

Monday, July 3, 2006

Beulah Francis was a success at her first pageant.

The 94-year-old resident of Elder Care of Marble Hill, Mo., was crowned queen at the 2006 Ms. Nursing Home Pageant, held at Plaza Conference Center in Cape Girardeau. She was one of eight contestants from area nursing homes.

Francis has called the facility home for only six months. She felt it was an honor to be chosen for the pageant, her first one. Francis said the thing she was most proud of was her family.

"They have all been nice, made something of themselves, not gotten into dope or alcohol and they all go to church," she said. Francis was formerly of the Castor River area, where she raised a big family and gardened. Occasionally she goes back to the family farm and checks on her garden.

As winner of the District 5 competition, Francis will move on to state competition at the annual Missouri Health Care Association convention at the Lake of the Ozarks in August.

The other contestants were Helen Costillo of Riverview at the Park, Ste. Genevieve, Mo.; Rose Linebarger of Fountainbleau Lodge in Cape Girardeau; Mary Hoeinghaus of The Manor in Poplar Bluff, Mo.; Melda Prenzel of Westwood Hills of Poplar Bluff; Winona Pruitt of Ste. Genevieve Care Center; Martha Ragsdale of Hunter Acres in Sikeston, Mo.; and Malita Stubblefield of Heartland Care and Rehab in Cape Girardeau.

Costillo was chosen as second runner up; Linebarger was third runner up.

Judges had 10 points for consideration as they evaluated contestants. Among them were the ability to show happiness in her life in a nursing home, smile, spryness for her age and attitude toward her fellow man.

Malita Stubblefield had her stepdaughter, Virginia Lewis, by her side as she prepared for the pageant to get underway, with other relatives coming later. Stubblefield, formerly of Marion, Ill., said she'd really not done anything to prepare for the pageant, but Heartland Care and Rehab administrator Glenda Cato knew there were a few things the 97-year-old had to have in order.

"She wanted to wear her pink dress, matching shoes, have her nails done and hair fixed," Cato said.

Stubblefield chose sparkly jewelry. A diamond necklace and a few diamond rings were brought to her for the occasion.

"My rings don't fit my fingers anymore," Stubblefield said. She could only wear a few and was a little disappointed. One thing she did do in preparation was pray and practice the song she would sing, "When the Roll is Called up Yonder."

Linebarger, 94, dressed in purple, was pleased to have a table full of friends and family join her while she waited to compete in the pageant. A Cardinals fan, Linebarger watches every game, most of the time with her cap on. Family members can rely on her if they miss a play or a game for detailed information.

Formerly a homemaker, Linebarger stayed home and kept busy. She said, "I never left my kids." Linebarger was proud to have sewn all her children's clothes and went onto creating quilt tops, needing help threading the needle but continuing for as long as she could. She doesn't miss sewing or crocheting but instead stays busy participating in activites, such as bingo, as much as she can.

cpagano@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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