A Tamaqua native has been crowned Ms. Senior Pennsylvania at a state pageant held last Friday.

Marie E. Hoppes Tennant, a 1959 graduate of Tamaqua High School, finished atop the field at the Ms. Senior Pennsylvania Showcase and Pageant held at Calvary Chapel, 9 S. 9th Street, Lebanon.

What makes the achievement especially noteworthy is that the new Ms. Senior Pennsylvania had learned about the pageant only three weeks prior to the event and had little time to prepare.

Tennant, 68, says the most difficult part was "coming up with my philosophy on life. I hadn't really given that much thought. I had to state it in 35 seconds," explains Tennant, now a resident of Middletown.

Tennant told the judges she feels, in part: "It's important for me to nurture my relationship with God, family and friends ... and to laugh a lot."

The new Ms. Senior Pennsylvania says she found out about the pageant recently when, while visiting a dance club, she was advised by a singer who performs at a dance group event in Hummelstown to enter the contest.

Tennant has four children: Cheryl Humes, Esq., Lewisburg; William A. Tennant, Wheaton, Illinois; Lisa Folkert, West Grove; and Larry G. Tennant, Lansdale. She also has seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Tennant's mother, Irene Hoppes, resides in The Middletown Home and will be 90 in September. Tennant's father, Leander "Goosie" Hoppes, is deceased.

The winner has close friends in the Tamaqua area and is especially fond of her hometown roots, including her association with a once-popular business located at the west end of West Cottage Avenue.

"My grandfather, Thomas O. Hoppes, also known as T.O., started his own business, the Thomas. O. Hoppes & Sons Lumber Yard. He also paid for my piano lessons as a child. I also play organ and was organist at many churches, both in Tamaqua and here in Highspire and Hershey."

Judging was based on interview and talent, each given 30 percent weight, and evening gown and philosophy, 20 percent.

Her talent was playing the piano, on which she performed "Wonderful, Merciful Savior."

Judges were Rose Marie Swanger, Larry Sheaf, Renee T. Krizan and alternate judge Katherine Miller Hoppes. Judge chairperson was Barbara Ann DeLeon, York.

By virtue of the win, Tennant will travel to Atlantic City to compete in the national pageant to take place at Harrahs' Resorts Oct. 3-7.

Ms. Senior America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing and empowering women who have reached the Age of Elegance – 60 years and better.

To learn more about MSA log on to: www.senioramerica.org or call (717) 273-6470.