Neighbors throw community-wide party for friend’s 104th birthday


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Neighbors are throwing a 104th birthday party for Bernie Hutten, shown here with his wife Betty at last year’s celebration at Tuscany Grill in Suntree, at their much larger Grand Isle clubhouse this month.

Viera Voice Photo

Bernie Hutten is turning 104, and his whole Grand Isle neighborhood in Viera is invited to celebrate.

In mid-March, Hutten’s neighbor Wayne Rankin and three other people will throw him the biggest birthday party he’s ever had. In previous years, Hutten has invited a number of people to Tuscany Grill for his birthday, but now he’s inviting the entire Grand Isle community and no restaurant is large enough.

“This year we’re taking over our clubhouse,” said Rankin. There are 336 homes in the neighborhood, and they’re expecting a good turnout to the open house-style event. “That’s a whopping amount of people.”

Rankin had the idea for the party last October. He knows it’s special for a man to turn 104 years old, but he also sees the value of the whole community coming together. “Not everybody goes to the clubhouse, not everybody knows each other. I guess it’s just the opportunity to come and meet the couple that everybody’s heard about,” he said.

Hutten used to play golf five days a week, until a hip replacement at age 97 put him out of commission. Hutten’s wife, Helen, is 91 years old, and she golfs every week and participates in tournaments. The still-lively couple celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day.

“The theme for the evening is ‘Young at Heart,’ and specifically that song for one reason,” Rankin said. “It ends with a line, ‘If you should survive to 105.’ And this man will. We’re all convinced that he will.” 

For more information, call 321-426-4704 any day after 1 p.m.VV