Angie Schneider

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Angie Schneider (some call her Nani) celebrated her 70th birthday Tuesday. Her older brother called in the morning to sing "Happy Birthday" to her as he does every year.

Pure Italian blood runs through Schneider's veins and she makes a mean brajole that even an Italian restaurant couldn't match, her granddaughter said.

Although she didn't brag about her cooking Tuesday, she did mention that even though she was the seventh of eight children in her family, she's the first and only to have great-grandchildren.

Children -- two sons, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren -- and her husband of 48 years are the people who have brought her the most happiness in life, she said.

Schneider said more than once how thankful she is for her family -- a poignant juxtaposition to stories of loss and battles with health problems.

She has lost all four of her sisters and both of her parents among others close to her. Health also poses a challenge: the two canes she needs for support prevent her from being able to carry the babies in her family. Despite the tough times she's endured, she remains positive.

"I can't question God why this happened to me," she said. "He has reasons."

Schneider's creative flair carried her through 42 years as a floral designer, with some of that time spent running her own florist shop.

As a child, she and her siblings helped run the family's corner grocery store in California. They also picked prunes and cut apricots in an orchard her father leased.

"We'd cut from daybreak to nine o'clock at night," Schneider said.

Being in Craig, she misses the taste of fresh fruit -- she said the apricots from the store taste as though they've been in cold storage. She also said that kids didn't get into trouble when she was a kid, because they worked so hard.

She and her husband, Doug, had lived off and on in Craig since 1976 and settled here in 1994.

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