Want to know the secret of long life — “Don’t sit down.” Dorothy Alma Voigt Costello Beuttenmueller turned 100 years young September 18.
Want to know the secret of long life — “Don’t sit down.”
Dorothy Alma Voigt Costello Beuttenmueller turned 100 years young September 18.
Born on September 18, 1908 in Hawley, daughter of the late Dr. Arno Constantine and Elizabeth Shanley Voigt, “Dot” is a lifelong resident of the community. Though through her travels she has left Hawley for many years, she returned to Shohola to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Edward and Beth Nikles 17 years ago.
“She has brought such joy. She graces our home,” says Beth about her mom.
A graduate of Hawley High School 1926, Dot obtained several degrees, which was usual for women to acquire during that time.
She attended Syracuse College in 1926 until a neck injury which side-lined her for a short while. She then graduated from Bloomsburg Teachers College and the University of New York, including Julliard, which she learned to play the harp. She also enjoys sewing, and quilting until recently due to her failing eyesight. She has made over 228 quilts so far on her own loom.
“I have sewed all my life. I made all my family clothing. I learned this from my step-mother Elanor Croop Voigt.”
Music was part of the Voigt family, as Dot recalls the family having their own family orchestra.
“My dad played the violin, me the piano, my sister played the viola and my brother played the saxophone and the clarinet,” explained Dot. “We grew up in a musical atmosphere. Life was pretty good to me.”
“I had a good child hood,” Dot exclaims. “I was always happy.”
Though a bit of a social butterfly, Dot recalls being corrected for not always coming home directly after school.
“I was always visiting before going home. I would often stop at the McGinnis’s Drug Store for a small bowl of ice cream. That’s when a soda cost five cents and a sandwich was ten cents. Sometimes I would stop and watch a local glass blower or the local farrier shoeing horses.
“I’ve always been very inquisitive about people and things, which is why I liked to visit places before going home.
“When a local lady delivered a baby, I was first in line to have my name put on the list to walk the baby in the carriage,” Dot remembers. “I had to either, sit in a chair quietly or go to my room — punishment for my ‘lolligagging’ after school.”
“We were one of two families that had a phone at the time. There was no cars, just a horse and buggy, which my father used to visit his patients in Hawley and nearby.
“I remember in the winter, my dad wrapping me up in blankets and getting the buggy out so I may join him on his visits between Greeley and Shohola; he often took me with him,” she fondly tells.
In 1907-08, Dot’s father built the house that she was born in, and it still stands today on 309 Keystone Street.
“I had lots of playmates and we played jacks, roll-hoops, rover, and snowsled. We made our own fun,” comparing today’s youth and her own.
“There are lot more activities today for children. We did a lot more reading then.
“We had an extensive home library and when old enough, father would make each one of us children read one book a month, and then report back to him on the book at the end of every month,” she says of her father’s insistence in being well-read.
There was once an opera house in Hawley and Dot was once in a play there.
“The old opera house is gone now, but when I was eight or nine years of age I remember being in a play there where I sat quietly on an old trunk, clothed with a red cape. Then at the end of the play the lead male actor died, and I thought he really did. But, when he got up, I thought it was a miracle. I was very young.”
When her mother passed in 1910, Dot was very young. She was the only child from her father and mother’s short time together. After her dad remarried, Dot gained two step-brothers and sisters.
Her father, who practiced medicine for 50 years and died in 1950.
Dot married her first husband, Charles Costello in 1939 in the Hawley Catholic Church (Queen of Peace). Father Gagnon performed the ceremony.
Charles spent two years in the United States Navy in World War II and when he returned home the couple brought a country inn (Cos-Mid Inn) where they held square dances and served food until 1972. The couple had three children, Beth (whom she lives with), Tim and Dan. Charles passed in 1972.
Her second husband, Otto Beuttenmueller was born in Germany. The couple were together for a decade or so and Otto passed in 1994. They traveled to Europe on several occasions, she added.
Dot lived in Matamoras for three years before coming to stay with her daughter and their family.
When asked how she managed to live to 100 years old, Dot replied “Keeping busy. I never sit down.”
And when one listens to the life she led, learning, working, loving and living, one would understand what she means.
Her eyes light up when she speaks of her life experiences and is thankful for all she had seen, done and acquired.
She has worked as a clerk with Western Union Cable Dept. in the uptown theatrical portion of New York City, and is a accomplished harpist. She has six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. All college graduates, she proudly announced.
One grandson, Dr. Andrew Costello, a West Point graduate, is currently serving in Iraq. Another grandson, Douglass Costello, is returning home from Afghanistan.
Except for a couple minor aches and pains, and a pace maker, Dot in is very good health, in her body and her mind.
She had lots to remember on the weekend of August 16 and 17, when her daughter and family held a celebration honoring her.
Her last remaining brother, Dr. George Voigt was scheduled to fly in from California to see her. They had not seen each other in many years.
“I am so excited to see him,” she says.
On August 16, a family dinner was held at the LeGorille Restaurant with more celebration held Saturday and Sunday with over 60 guests present.
While preparing to leave, a simple gesture was offered to her of “may you live another 100 more.” Dot laughed and said “Oh no.”