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Talented Nonagenarian Uses Her Sewing Machine to Help Others

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Willie Pfaeffle took up sewing as a teenager. Throughout her life, she’s sewn clothes for herself and her family and loved ones. During the last several years, she’s revved up her sewing machine to help others. Injured service men and women, girls around the world living in poverty, seriously ill children attending Paul Newman’s summer camp, and seniors here in our community have all benefited from Willie’s talents.

Willie is 94 years old, but she has no plans to stop the whir of her sewing machine anytime soon.

“I guess I started [sewing] in high school,” said Willie. “I’m so glad I did. Now it allows me to do something with my time. I look forward to looking at the fabric and figuring out what to do with it.”

Willie’s sewing talents were enlisted by Pat Chen, who volunteers with the Martin County Library System, to sew wheelchair and walker totes for local seniors. The Kane Center became a lucky beneficiary of these beautiful totes for the seniors who attend The Club.

“We were so delighted that our friends at the library thought of us as recipients for this donation,” said Chelsey Matheson, Marketing and Community Outreach Manager at the Kane Center. “Not only did the totes bring joy to our members, it also gave us the opportunity to be acquainted to Willie. At nearly 94-years-young, she continues to pursue her passion and use her talents to help others. It is beyond inspiring.”

Willie is humble about her work as she lists off the many charitable causes she has supported through her sewing. There were special pants for soldiers designed with Velcro on the legs to accommodate serious injuries and prosthetics; colorful dresses for little girls who may otherwise never have a new garment of their own; and pillowcases she designed as part of an arts-and-crafts project for kids battling serious illnesses who were getting to experience the normalcy and fun sleepaway camp. With each project, she gave without expectation of accolades. Willie is just happy to help.

“I’ve been in good health, so that allows me to do more,” said Willie. “I’m so glad I can inspire people a little bit.”

The Charles & Rae Kane Center, 900 SE Salerno Road, Stuart, FL 34997

Area Agency on Aging

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