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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Graduate remembered by her hometown on her 100th birthday

Monday, March 7, 2005

"The Brazilian," Brazil High School's 1922 yearbook photo

According to the tradition of the day, quotes and poems about the person appeared with their senior picture. Above The Brazilian's Music Editor Helen Rupert's photo was the following: "With Helen 'tis a case of hey diddle diddle, which do you need, my car or my fiddle. I'm going to do what I please." She was 17 at the time.

At 100 years old, Helen Rupert Jones thought she'd seen it all.

The Costa Mesa Fire Department presented a citation and had a team of firefighters standing by as the candles on her birthday cake were lit during a recent celebration in California. Family and friends she hadn't seen in a long time had flown in from around the country to spend the day with the birthday girl.

But the most unexpected thing of all, was the flowers and birthday card signed from the high school in her hometown of Brazil, Ind.

Helen is a 1922 graduate from Brazil High School.

Since it was closed, Northview High School made sure that one of their own was remembered on her special day.

"It was just a neat thing for us to do," Northview High School Principal Jim Church said.

Even though life has taken the Brazil native to Costa Mesa, California to live with her daughter Sylvia and her husband Jim, there are old friends in Brazil.

"I got to know Helen when I was about 12 and our families attended the same church," said Ernest Weaver, 98, of Brazil. He has many fond memories of his childhood friend. Helen was related to his first wife and they stayed in touch frequently. But over the years the two friends lost each other. "We just got to where we couldn't go anymore and lost contact."

It may be a century since her birth, but Helen doesn't seem to mind.

"I feel good," Helen will tell you without hesitation. Her longevity she credits to a Manhattan cocktail every evening at 5 p.m., a ritual since her days in college.

"Without question she is the most gracious person I've ever met," said Sylvia. "It's been a gift having her live with us the last 12 years."

Sylvia is trying to get in touch with more family and friends from the area for her mother.

"We are looking for distant relatives," Sylvia said. She explained that her family would be related to the descendants of Indiana State Senator William Rupert and his wife Emma, along with cousins Jess and Gif Dowing. They are also seeking to find the descendants of Blythe Jones, Helen's husband. "Memories begin to fade at this age, and it would be great to find people from her past now while she can enjoy them."

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