Norma Nelson

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We understand that Norma Nelson, one of the founding members of the West Pasco Historical Society, and a past president, died on Dec. 31. She was 91 years old and was living in The Villages.

Norma was one of the authors of the book West Pasco’s Heritage, the first major project of the historical society, which was the combined work of a number members, most notably Julie Obenreder.

Julie wrote that when the historical society was founded, but before the museum existed, the valuable data, scrapbooks, and historical memorabilia donated to the society were stored in “Ida Brunner’s garage, Julie Obenreder’s residence, and Norma Nelson’s attic.”

A gifted artist, she created the portraits of Spanish conquistadors and Seminole leaders that graced the walls of the museum for many years.

She retired from Community Hospital in New Port Richey after working in the data processing department for 20 years.

NPR Christmas trees

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The New Port Richey Christmas tree in Sims Park in 1921 and in 2016!

In 1921 the park was still called Enchantment Park.

In the older picture, Mrs. George Sims is believed to be #2 and Mrs. Fred (Emma) Rowan is #5. If you recognize anyone else, let us know!

Eddie Russ

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WPHS member Patrick Eddie Russ died on Dec. 1, 2016. He had an important connection with the museum because his grandparents lived in the building when it was a private residence on Little Road. He recently visited the museum and loaned us some photos of the building when it was the residence of his grandparents, Ed and Willie Maude Frierson.

Eddie was born on Sept. 11, 1947. He was a 1965 graduate of Gulf High School. His mother, Mary Evelyn (Frierson) Russ graduated from GHS in 1947. Eddie is pictured here at the Class of 1965 50-year reunion.

In a video clip from 2011 here, he recalls playing in the building as a child. Our museum was built as the Seven Springs school in 1915 but was closed in 1925 when the school district decided to close the small one- and two-room schools. It then became a private residence. It was moved to Sims Park in 1981.

Catholic church

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Here is a view of the Church of Our Lady, Queen of Peace on Washington Street in Port Richey, from a 1950s post card. This building is now located in Sims Park and is now called Peace Hall.

Clara Ann Smith

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Clara Ann Smith, a long-time volunteer at the historical society and a retired Pasco County Extension agent, died on Nov. 13. She was born on Dec. 29, 1928, and was 87 years old. She was born in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from OSU in 1950. She is survived by 3 nieces, one nephew, and great-nieces and great-nephews. A memorial service will be held on Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. at the Landings of St. Andrew.

World War II newspapers

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WPHS board member Aidan Woodham checks out a collection of historic front pages of the Detroit Free Press and Flint Journal from World War II. Thanks to Lois Cook, who recently donated the collection to us.