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Lady celebrates age 102 dancing to live music

June 4, 2014
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Dorice Wheeler has been attending Monday Night Jam Sessions at Bonita Bill's Waterfront Eatery on San Carlos Island for nearly five years.

Wheeler turned 102 years old on Memorial Day and, since it was a Monday, you can guess where she celebrated such a happy occasion. The proclaimed "Queen of the Dance Floor" danced and twirled to the live entertainment of Three Old Hippies, which features Space Ghost, T-Bone, Keyboard Kevin, Steve Lucky, Slide Guitar Paul, ShockTop Burnell Caldwell and others.

"She likes to go every Monday night," said her son Billy. "She dances and does a Rockette-type kick."

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Dorice Wheeler celebrated 102 years young at Bonita Bill's Waterfront Cafe on Memorial Day. Birthday balloons surrounded her and a cake was served to honor the special occasion for the “Queen of the Dance Floor.”

At 4' 3", 74 pounds, Dorice is the life of the party when she does get on the dance floor. During her birthday celebration at Bonita Bill's, friends and fellow jam session participants flooded her with balloons, cake and gifts.

"There was a lot of people there, and she likes to put on a show for everybody," said Billy. "She hugs everybody and flirts around with some of the guys. She is really something."

Dorice, a native of Manchester, N.H., used to dance for much of the night, but a nagging injury has limited her ability.

"Lately, she's been having a few back problems, so we slowed it down to maybe two dances a night," Billy said.

Other than her back, Dorice's health has been strong, according to Billy, whom she lives with. She only takes one medication, doesn't need a walker or cane or any form of outside assistance or nursing care.

Years ago, Billy used to take Dorice for rides around San Carlos Island in his 12-foot motorized rubber dinghy raft. That is when they lived in Johnston, Rhode Island part of the year and only a few months in the wintertime down here. Dorice has been a part-time resident for roughly 12 years.

"We used to stop at Bonita Bill's way back then," Billy said. "We just moved here permanently three years ago. I began going to Bonita Bill's when they had a blues night on Mondays and started taking my mother down there."

Passing the century mark in age is quite an accomplishment. Evening highballs keeps Dorice going, says Billy. Other than the Monday jam sessions, Dorice likes to dress up for Halloween. She was a witch this past October and a pirate two years ago.

"If you ask her what keeps her percolating, which is what she calls it, she will say her whiskey and her ginger," he said.



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