Pasco County woman celebrates 108th birthday, recounts feats that helped change the world

The people at the hearing aid store couldn't believe it when Barbara Pierce's daughters told them how old Barbara is.

"The one daughter said she's going to be 108. I said 108? She said yes. I said, 'we need to do something,'" said Gina Plummer with Hear USA in Pasco County.

Plummer and her staff threw a party for Barbara and invited five generations of her family to the store for cake, balloons, and stories. Barbara has not only lived a long life, but she's also done amazing things that changed the world.

In the late 1930s, she became an artist, creating oil paintings. However, as U.S. involvement in World War II grew closer, the federal government began to develop new technology. They needed Barbara to draw circuits.

"I got into printed circuits. This circuitry was all secret," said Barbara. "At night they locked up that room."

The circuits she helped create were used in a device that cracked the famous "Enigma" code that was used by the Nazis.

After Barbara helped save the world, she helped leave the world.

"We knew it was going to the moon," said Barbara of the circuitry that was used on the Apollo 11 moon mission in 1969.

NASA sent her a small piece of the spacecraft that contained her circuits. It was signed by members of the team that put the spacecraft together.

At the party Monday, Barbara sat beside two of her daughters, aged 82 and 84. Two of her great-great-grandchildren were there, too. They asked questions and they often laughed, just like Barbara.

FOX 13 photojournalist Emily Felts asked "what's your beauty secret?"

"Soap, water, and lots of cold cream," laughed Barbara.

When FOX 13's Lloyd Sowers asked Barbara how she succeeded in a field that was dominated by men, she responded "because I was the best."

She worked on technology that helped win a World War and take us to the Moon. At this party, they not only celebrated Barbara's 108 years, but also the amazing things she's done with them.

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