Still Learning To See

100 years


Last week we helped my father-in-law celebrate his 100th birthday. While it is true that bodies can be a bit worn after working for 876,624 hours, don’t make assumptions about what he has “upstairs!”  This guy’s mind and soul still function as if they were half his age. He is an inspiration!

The party included over 150 people, about half extended family and many of the rest friends from the retirement center where he lives in Michigan. From his throne of honor, he warmly greeted many personally, and posed for many photographs too. He is famous for his jokes too and the one he told had everyone laughing.

When we asked him what he wanted for a present, he immediately said “I’d love it if people would write down stories from their lives and share them with others.” What a gift! In the past ten years he and my wife, Liz, have co-authored and published ten books about his remarkable life; as he says “if you have questions for me, you’d better ask before the library closes.”

Of course, as we age not everyone keeps their wits about them as well as he has. When he is around folks who don’t know him, we often notice they speak to us, instead of him thinking he has to be daft at that age, or they speak loudly believing he must be deaf (he’s not). They quickly learn the error of their ways!


What is his “secret” to long life? He is quick to say “How would I know, I’ve never been this old before.” I am most inspired by the way he respects others and is interested in them as fellow human beings. If he has any secrets to his long life, I think these would be two of them.  He certainly knows each day is a gift and he lives them as fully as he is able. Happy Birthday from all of us!



This entry was published on September 22, 2019 at 6:03 pm. It’s filed under John Snell Photographer, People, Photograph, and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “100 years

  1. Dianne Shullenberger on said:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. So happy for him and you all. It is a little sad that we could not do this for Mom but contrary to Liz’s Dad she would not have been happy with me if I did it. Thank you. Dianne ________________________________

  2. carolenaquin on said:

    A lot to learn from these Centenarians. My mother went at 100 + 4 mos and I miss her so much. Your mother went almost that far too? It must have been a memorable bday party. Xo

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. I’m slow to respond, but this was so inspirational – posted on my own birthday – a gift!

  4. Veer Frost on said:

    John, it’s a bit busy and I’ve had to save a few gems in my email, the sort that reward deep attention, including both the extraordinary quarry water/light photos and now this witness to love and family. Altogether a magic haul, I just wanted to thank you. Kind regards, Veer Frost

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