Many of our residents will have seen Rita sitting in our lobby. She is hard to miss; still statuesque and beautiful at 97, she is our oldest resident! We are lucky to have had her here for the last 24 years.
When talking to Rita, she especially wanted me to know her family history. They have been in this country since 1738, emigrating from Switzerland. The family name is Bollinger and Bollinger County in Southeastern Missouri is named after her ancestor George Frederick Bollinger. George convinced 20 families from North Carolina to cross the Mississippi in their covered wagons to settle in the area in 1799.
Rita left the family farm to work as a receptionist at a McDonald Douglas aircraft plant during WWII. Her next move was to NYC where she lived at the famous Barbizon Hotel (for women only) when she worked as a model for photographers and on the runway. There she met a girl from Roland Park who introduced her to her first husband. They were happily married until his death and had 4 children-John, Coral, Paul and Matthew. Sadly, Paul just recently died.
Her next husband was Bertrand Smith, a military secretary at the Pentagon. Through his work Rita was able to meet many interesting people and enjoyed an active social life. When this marriage ended Rita moved to Hampton Plaza.
Rita has wonderful stories of all the people and good times she has had while living here. We hope that she remains happy and healthy and continues to make more new memories.
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