Franklin County’s oldest veteran is still going strong.
At 101, World War II vet Dan Sangaree is still full of life.
On July 18, he received his third pacemaker at Bay Medical Center as an outpatient and the operation was a complete success. Sangaree said, after two days, he felt stronger and better. He said he was driven for a postoperative checkup on July 19 by Ann Sizemore and will not need to return to Panama City for an additional treatment.
At the age of 83, Sangaree received was the first person to have pacemaker implanted at Weems Memorial Hospital, on July 29, 1998, almost 18 years ago to the day. That one remained in place for less than two years and the second was installed Jan. 28, 2000 at Gulf Pines Hospital in Port Saint Joe.
Sangaree said that, after his latest surgery, his cardiologist, Dr. Basivi Baddingham sent him his second pacemaker as a souvenir with a note congratulating him on its long period of service. “They said most pacemakers last only five or 10 years,” said Sangaree.
Seated in his Apalachicola home, Sangaree talked about his current projects, pausing frequently to take telephone calls from friends.
Once known as the orchid man, he still has several flowering plants under cultivation and a beautiful bamboo orchid blooming on his covered patio.
“I have converted some tools to make it possible for me to work in the garden from my power chair,” he said and demonstrated a rake, hoe and bulb auger fitted with long PVC handles.
He also recently designed and built a Rube Goldbergesque alarm to frighten crows away from his fig tree. A timer periodically triggers a stream of water to strike a tin dishpan, creating enough commotion to frighten the boldest bird.
Although he said much of his garden drowned in the recent deluge, he still had a few pet projects to show off. The ramp to his front door is camouflaged by a riot of butterfly weed, cosmos and other bright flowers mingled with cherry tomato vines. A papaya tree has volunteered in his yard near the venerable bay tree he has cultivated for decades, but his newest fascination is a climbing spinach vine with beautiful fuchsia stems and pink and purple berries.
“Try it! It’s delicious,” said Sangaree.
Dan still gets around too. He bragged that he still drives at 101 years of age.