Sunday, November 10, 2002

Obituary: Julia Stamm Hugo, 106

Enjoyed piano-playing for decades

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer


MONTGOMERY - Julia "Lizzie" Stamm Hugo played a piano duet with her friend Dr. Charles Benner at her last birthday party.

The two also played at retirement homes, senior centers, nursing homes and churches. Six years ago, at 100 years old, Mrs. Hugo treated herself by buying a new piano.

Mrs. Hugo, who turned 106 on July 19, died Nov. 1 at the Montgomery Care Center. She was a former Kenwood resident.

Mrs. Hugo was born in 1896 in Greenville, Pa., to Clara Lohr and William Stamm, who was the town bandmaster. Her mother died when she was 2 and she went to live with friends of the family in Mercer, Pa. When she was in her teens she went to live with her father until she was married. She met Fred J. Hugo on a blind date. He was a traveling salesman who sold phonographs for the Star Piano Company of Richmond, Ind. In 1921 they married. They settled in Dayton, Ohio, in 1927.

During the Depression, Mrs. Hugo raised her family and played the piano in a Dayton church.

"She raised a family in very difficult times," said her daughter, Julie Sullivan of Pasadena, Texas. "She did without things so my brother and I could have the necessities."

She said her mother played classical music and did not allow her children to listen to popular music.

"Then she heard some Gershwin and she thought that was OK," Mrs. Sullivan said.

In 1978, her husband of 57 years died. In 1990, Mrs. Hugo moved to the apartment attached to the Kenwood home of her son, William.

Her daughter-in-law, Isabelle Hugo of Kenwood, said Mrs. Hugo believed her secret to longevity was her good genes. She also had good health practices.

Mrs. Hugo said her in-laws never owned a car and were dependent on public transportation or walked.

In addition to playing the piano and organ, Mrs. Hugo was an avid gardener, reader and poet. She took up china painting at the age of 70 and continued with this hobby well past her 100th birthday. At the insistence of her son, she completed her autobiography about two years ago.

In addition to her daughter and son, Mrs. Hugo is survived by three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her two brothers, David and John Stamm, and her son-in-law, Donald B. Sullivan.

Mrs. Hugo donated her body to the University of Cincinnati. Services have been held.

Memorials: Vitas Hospice Healthcare, 11500 Northlake Drive, Suite 400, Cincinnati 45249-9705, or St. Paul Presents , St. Paul United Methodist Church, 8221 Miami Ave., Cincinnati 45243.


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