Farewell Parade a hit at East Citrus Community Center

Citrus County Senior Programs Supervisor Janice Hale saying her goodbyes to Germaine Beeman. (PHOTO: Cynthia Oswald)

East Citrus Community Center staff and friends lined up for a “Farewell Parade” celebrating the infamous “Jigsaw Puzzle Queen”, 91-year-old Germaine Beeman.

The parade of more than 15 vehicles, held on Aug. 12, weaved through the parking lot, horns beeping, in front of the queen herself, who was seated under the Community Center front canopy.

Germaine, “Gigi” as her friends call her, has been attending the East Citrus Community Center at 9907 E. Gulf to Lake Hwy., Inverness, every day for 17 years.

Next week, she will begin a new adventure, moving to Connecticut to be closer to family.

With the Center closed due to the pandemic, and social distancing a must with the senior population, Coordinator Carolyn Adanti had to get creative in planning this unique farewell event. She decided to coordinate the parade with the daily meal pickup at the Center to make it easy for citizens to participate and say their goodbyes to Gigi while staying safe.

One by one the cars passed by, a few tears were shed, and even Buster Brown the dog made an appearance. “You are family Gigi, and will be missed by all of us,” said Citrus County Senior Programs Supervisor Janice Hale as she handed Gigi a handmade sign and flowers.

Gigi tried her first jigsaw puzzle when she arrived at the Center 17 years ago and never looked back. Many of her finished puzzles are framed and hang on the walls of the Inverness Center.

Last year, she was honored by her friends at the center on her 90th birthday with a presentation of her photo made into a jigsaw puzzle