Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Remarkable Centenarian

When I lived in Portland, Oregon I took a water aerobics class at a local pool three days a week. They kept the water very warm – 87 degrees, we had terrific instructors and it gave me a “feel good” feeling knowing that I was doing something that was truly good for me. There were lots of people attending the class some younger and some older than I am, but the most remarkable person I met there was a man by the name of Bill Schultz. He was quite tall, white-haired – a nice looking man, but the thing that amazed me was the fact that, unlike most of us who climbed down the stairs into the pool, Bill dived in and swam the back stroke back and forth across the pool for nearly a half hour. So what is so amazing about that? Bill Schultz turned 100 on August 16 of this year!

But Bill has always dived into life. As a teenager in the 1920s, he taught himself mountain climbing and skiing. He canoed and camped across Canada before vans and jeeps made it convenient. On his 50th wedding anniversary, he and his wife, Rose, bicycled the Northwest Coast. He had met his schoolteacher wife, Rose in a Portland ice cream parlor. They were married for 63 years, until her death in 2001. Bill still takes care of their three acre farm where he raises sheep and collects eggs from his chickens -- most of those he gives to friends at the Harmon Pool.

This past week he celebrated the number 100 by swimming with friends at the Harmon Swim Center in Beaverton, ate some cake and ice cream, then drove his ’68 Mustang home for a backyard barbecue with many well wishers. He has been asked many times what’s his secret for living a long life and his answer is always the same, “Breathe in and breathe out”. Bill is considered a celebrity at the pool where he swims three times a week and is known for a happy-go-lucky, easygoing nature.

Bill was born August 16, 1908, in Prosser, Washington, the year William Howard Taft was elected president, the first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line and Mother’s Day was observed for the first time. And what is his advice for a long life – ‘eat better, keep a sense of humor’. It would seem to have worked for him, that’s for sure.

I’m happy that I had the chance to meet Bill, he is most definitely a remarkable man and I want to send him my very best wishes for many more years. He is an inspiration to all that know him.

If you would like to see more about Bill, check out the video about him at and look for “Life is going swimmingly for Bill Schultz”.


Margie's Musings said...

What a wonderful attitude! My great aunt Margie just died three years ago and she was 104. These people amaze me. Invariably, they have a great attitude about life.

Judy said...

I am sure he is a remarkable man and to be able to swim like he does weekly is wonderful. I will check out the video. I like your daily quotes.

TropiGal said...

I loved everything about this post. First, I love stories about people who are provide ageless examples and inspiration for life in our elder years. I need these stories; they keep me going. Second, I liked the way it was written. It has a nice snap at the point where Bill's age was revealed. The sentences and structure was crisp and concise. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

lilalia said...

What a delightful story to read. Thank you. People like Bill are truly inspirational. All the best to you that you can swim and do your water exercises a long time ahead.