Brandon resident to celebrate 105th birthday

HILLSBOROUGH, Fla.-- One of Brandon's oldest women will celebrate her 105th birthday, and she says there's no secret to living a long life.

Iva Lee Haygood Bell will celebrate her 105th birthday on Friday, at the Bloomingdale West Recreation Center.

The Brandon resident is quick to admit she doesn’t have a magic formula for long life. She has been drinking coffee since the age of 5, has never had a specific exercise routine, and has never smoked nor tasted alcohol.

“I never took medicine,’’ Bell said. “Never been sick, didn’t have to. If I took medicine it probably would make me sick.’’

Bell, who was born in 1911 when William Howard Taft was president, still maintains an active life. She lives in Brandon with one of her daughters and goes to the Bloomingdale West Recreation Center three or four times a week to do activities and socialize with her friends.

Bell was born in Alpharetta, Georgia, and moved with her family to Tampa when she was 14. She was married to Rowland Bell for 56 years until his death in 1984, and has three daughters. Her husband worked for the shipyards in Tampa and as a mechanic at the Hav-A-Tampa cigar factory before the family ran a feed and grocery store on Florida Avenue near Sulphur Springs, and later a grocery in Brandon. In addition to helping run the family stores, Iva Lee Bell rolled cigars for Hav-A-Tampa in the 1930s and later worked for Maas Brothers department store in downtown Tampa..


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