OnFocus 2021 Person of the Year: Floreine Kurtzweil

Floreine Kurtzweil at 96

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – Floreine Kurtzweil is living proof that age is no factor when it comes to making a positive impact on the world. Born on a farm near Edgar, Wisconsin in June 1921, the oldest child of seven moved to Chicago during the start of WWII. Here, she worked as a secretary at the Chicago Tribune, radio station WGN, and the world-famous Leo Burnett advertising agency.

While based in Chicago, Kurtzweil volunteered in the spinal care unit of a local hospital, became actively engrossed in politics (even attending the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan), and traveled extensively.

At age 57, Floreine moved back to Central Wisconsin to care for her father. A devout Catholic, she became active in the community through the women’s group and Parish Council at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church near Halder, WI.

In 2005, she moved to Marshfield and continued serving her community, starting as a family escort at the hospital. Pre-pandemic, she regularly attended Central Wisconsin Tea Party meetings and remains active in the Wood County Republican Party. With a passion for wildlife and environmental issues, she is also active in the Wildwood Zoological Society, and is the only person outside of the Zoo Board that attends each and every meeting.

Beyond her volunteer work, Floreine makes it a priority to help people on a personal level.

Kurtzweil doing a video interview at Zoofest.

“Community means all the people involved, as well as the institutions,” she said. “What I try to do is cheer people up, and to keep a positive attitude. There are so many negative people. It makes me happy to do something for somebody else. You don’t have to talk, you listen.”

Floreine enjoys visiting people in nursing homes, especially those who have no family or other visitors.

Each week is different, and Floreine enjoys the variety. Whether it’s exploring the latest art at New Visions gallery or managing a booth at Zoofest, Floreine makes it a point to be out in the community, and to keep both her mind and body active. Reading books and Bible devotionals, and learning about culture, photography, and fashion are a few of her many interests.

Floreine has been a blood donor since young adulthood and continues to donate 3-4 times per year. “A worthy endeavor and a cause that is under-publicized,” she said.

In her 100 years of life, she’s donated 6 gallons of blood. She plans to add to that amount later this month.

“A lot of things come up. I never know what I’ll be doing,” she said, adding that no one is ever too busy to make a difference. “Everyone can do something. You have to prioritize your time. If you want it to work, you make it work.”

In her leisure time, she enjoys playing Scrabble and Bridge, and regularly has a relaxing glass of wine with dinner. She also makes a point to eat healthy and stay active, doing most of her own cooking and baking and walking several miles at least four times per week.

“Marshfield is a wonderful place,” she said. “I am very lucky to be living here.”

After decades of being an active volunteer and supporter of many area nonprofits, and nearly a century of being in this world, Floreine offers a unique perspective and wisdom that few others can.

“My mother always said, ‘Eat nutritiously, go to church, and invest wisely,’” said Floreine. “I’ve tried to do all of that. Part of it is God, part of it is what my parents taught me, and part of it is what I’m continuing to do. I must be here for a purpose.”

Floreine turned 100 on June 9 and enjoyed the parties and celebrations leading up to the big milestone.

“So many people are so happy for me,” she said. “So many people have asked me what it’s like to turn 100. I am grateful, thankful, and happy. I really am happy. I’ve gotten this far, what the heck! A lot of people want to get close to me because they never knew a person that’s 100 years-old. It’s really funny.”

Thanks to her outpouring of community support and her longstanding willingness to give back, Floreine is an OnFocus Person of the Year for 2021.

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News Desk
Author: News Desk