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June 28. 2012 10:18PM

Warner woman wins Ms. Senior America NH


2012 Ms. New Hampshire Senior America winner Marie Klinedinst, right, of Warner is crowned by 2011 Ms. New Hampshire Senior America holder Kathy Salanitrow of Gilford during the pageant held at the Intervale Country Club in Manchester Thursday afternoon. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)


2012 Ms. New Hampshire Senior America winner Marie Klinedinst, center, of Warner, is congratulated by Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas as 2011 Ms. New Hampshire Senior America holder Kathy Salanitrow, of Gilford, looks on during the pageant held at the Intervale Country Club in Manchester Thursday afternoon. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — Twice a runner-up in the Ms. Senior America New Hampshire pageant, Marie Klinedinst waited in the hallway at the Intervale Country Club with a smile big smile. In a few moments, it would be her time to wear the tiara.

“It got to a point where I felt like always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” said Klinedinst, 63, of Warner. “This means a lot. It gives me the chance to represent New Hampshire, and the seniors in the state. People need to know that seniors are still viable people. Most of us try to live healthy, active lives, and that's what this is all about.”

Klinedinst was crowned Ms. Senior America New Hampshire 2012 on Thursday at a reception at the Intervale, attended by friends, family, former pageant queens and Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Thursday's event was hosted by Senior America, Inc., a nonprofit corporation designed to enrich the lives of seniors, highlighting ways they enrich the lives of others. The pageant showcases women who have reached what organizers term the “Age of Elegance” (someone at least 60 years old), with the winner described as a “gracious lady who best exemplifies the dignity, maturity and inner beauty of all senior Americans.”

Gatsas agreed that true beauty involves insight, not just eyesight.

“It's a great thing,” said Gatsas. “When seniors are coming down and taking part in things like pageants, that keeps them young and involved. It gives women a great opportunity to show off not only their outer beauty but the inner beauty as well, their talents.”

Klinedinst will now represent New Hampshire at the 2012 National Ms. Senior America Pageant at Harrah's Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., Oct. 7 to Oct. 12. Over the next year, she will serve as Senior America's ambassador to senior citizens throughout the state.

“I can't wait to go out to the nursing homes and the veteran homes, and meet and entertain people,” said Klinedinst, a lifelong New Hampshire resident. “I take voice lessons, and I've made visits like that with my voice teacher, and it's always so heartwarming to see the reaction on their faces when we show up. They appreciate it so much. You will see some of them there, and you will think that they aren't cognizant of what's going on, but then you see their feet start tapping. These are probably some of the only visits and entertainment they get.”

Katherine Salanitro, Ms. New Hampshire Senior America 2011 from Gilford, was in attendance Thursday to relinquish her crown, and said the experience over the past year was more than she could ever have hoped for.

“I was able to be a role model, and also an inspiration to people,” said Salanitro, who successfully battled cancer during her reign as Ms. Senior America New Hampshire. “I was going forward and working with children, and visiting with folks, letting them know they are not alone if they are fighting cancer. There is hope out there. Telling them whatever they decide they want to do in life, they can reach for the stars and achieve it. You go to nursing homes, and hospitals, and bring a little bit of life to their lives.”

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Paul Feely may be reached at pfeely@unionleader.com.


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