Posts Tagged ‘Grandfather’

Walter Breuning – The OLDEST MAN IN THE WORLD…

March 17, 2011

Walter Breuning – The OLDEST MAN IN THE WORLD…
Living in Great Falls, Montana, USA

Walter Breuning (born September 21, 1896) is a Super-centenarian. At the age of 114 years, he is currently the 2nd oldest [verified] person in the world.  He has been the oldest living MAN in the world since July 18 2009, and the last known man still living who was born in 1896. On his 110th birthday, Breuning was declared the oldest living retired railroader in the United States. The governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, and the city mayor attended his celebration. He is one of the last two males still alive today who were verifiably born before the year 1900. He is one of only five men in history to have undisputedly reached the age of 114. Breuning is the oldest undisputed American-born man ever, and since December 12, 2010, the fourth oldest undisputed man ever.

 

Walter Breuning was born in Melrose, Minnesota. He is the son of John Breuning and Cora Morehouse Breuning, and had two brothers and two sisters.  In 1901 when he was 5, his family moved to DeSmet, South Dakota, where he went to school for nine years until his family broke up in 1910.  Breuning referred to this time as “the dark ages”, as his family lived without electricity, water, or plumbing, describing it as “carry the water in, heat it on the stove. That’s what you took your bath in. Wake up in the dark, go to bed in the dark. That’s not very pleasant”.  Longevity runs in Breuning’s family. His paternal grandparents lived into their 90s, and his siblings lived to ages 78, 85, 91, and 100 although his parents had more typical life spans for their cohorts.

In 1910 aged 14, Breuning dropped out of school; he began scraping bakery pans for $2.50 weekly.  He joined the Great Northern Railway in 1913, working for it for over fifty years. Breuning commented that during his early years, he would have to hide from the railway owner, James J. Hill, as Hill did not want any railroad employees under the age of 18 (Breuning was first hired at age 17).  Breuning worked for the Great Northern Railway until age 66, and was also a manager/secretary for the local Shriner’s club until age 99.  During World War I, he signed up for military service, but was never called up. He moved to Montana in 1918, where he continued working as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway. There, he met Agnes Twokey, a telegraph operator from Butte, Montana. He was married to her from 1922 until her death in 1957. They had no children and Walter never married again stating that “Second marriages never work; even first marriages don’t work today.” When World War II broke out, he was too old to serve.

In later years

Having lived at the Rainbow Retirement and Assisted Living Center in Great Falls Montana for the last 32 years, Breuning is in excellent health, even after a lifelong habit of smoking cigars, which he quit in 1999.  He is able to walk, and eats two meals a day. He still maintains a sharp mind and accurate memory. For example, he can remember his grandfather talking about his experiences in the American Civil War when he (Breuning) was three years old, and remembers the day President William McKinley was shot as the day “I got my first haircut”.  He takes no prescription medications. In November 2007, at the age of 111, Breuning was fitted with hearing aids.

On his 112th birthday, Breuning said the secret to long life is being active: “[If] you keep your mind busy and keep your body busy, you’re going to be around a long time.”

The week before his 113th birthday in September 2009, Breuning had fallen and bruised his scalp, but was otherwise unhurt.

Breuning still dresses in a suit and tie every day. In a recent interview, Breuning said, “Every day I exercise. Every morning I do all my exercises.” On April 24, 2009 at the age of 112, Breuning was interviewed on CBS by Steve Hartman for Assignment America. When asked by Hartman if he would do a second CBS interview in four years, Breuning said, “Well hell you sure can!”

On February 16, 2009, Breuning made an appearance on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, giving his views about the current state of the economy and the newly elected president. Breuning said that the first President he ever voted for was Woodrow Wilson, and that the most memorable news item he ever heard about in his life was the Stock Market Crash of 1929. He also described life during the Great Depression.

On April 24, 2009, Breuning was the focus of a segment done by Steve Hartman’s “Assignment America” on the CBS Evening News.  On September 21, 2009, Breuning was the focus of another such segment. During his 113th birthday celebrations, Breuning said: “Remember that life’s length is not measured by its hours and days, but by that which we have done therein. A useless life is short if it lasts a century. There are greater and better things in us all, if we would find them out. There will always be in this world – wrongs. No wrong is really successful. The day will come when light and truth and the just and the good shall be victorious and wrong as evil will be no more forever.”

The BNSF Railway named the west end of its new Broadview Subdivision, where it meets the ex-Great Northern Laurel Subdivision near Broadview, Montana, “Walter Junction” after Breuning. He was present at the dedication of the new line, which serves the Signal Peak Mine, on September 2, 2009.

On February 25, 2010, Breuning was honored by Montana Ambassadors for shining a spotlight on the state of Montana.

Here’s Some Photos of Walter


In this school photo, Walter is standing under the window, with the “X” above his head.  The slate carries the date of 1907, making Walter about 9 years old.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer chats with Walter.

Walter receives “his copy” of the Guinness Book of World Records, listing him as the World’s Oldest Man.

Weatherman for KRTV Television Fred Pfieffer – N7NMY, with Walter

(This story from Great Falls Area Amateur Radio Club – W7ECA)

 

UPDATE 6-11 Walter passed away April 2011 at 114 years of age. The current oldest man in the world is a 114 year old man in Japan.

Letter from Granddad

February 22, 2010

John is 63 years old and owns his own business. He is a life-long Republican and sees his dream of retiring next year is now all but gone. With the stock market crashing and all the new taxes coming his way, John knows he will be working for a good number more years.

John has a Granddaughter. Ashley is a recent college grad. She drives a late model car, wears all the latest fashions, and also likes going out and eating out a lot. Ashley campaigned hard for Obama, and after he won the election she made sure her Grandfather (and all other Republican family members) received more than an earful on how the world is going to be a much better place now that Obama won the election.

Ashley recently found herself short of cash and cannot pay her bills, again. As she has done many other times in the past, she e-mailed her Grandfather asking for some financial help. Here is his reply:

Sweetheart,

I am replying to your request for more money. Ashley, you know I love you dearly and am sympathetic to your financial plight. Unfortunately, times have changed. With the election of President Obama, your Grandmother and I have had to set forth a bold new economic plan of our own….the ‘Ashley Economic Plan’. Let me explain. Your grandmother and I are highly productive, wage-earning taxpayers. As you know, we have lived a comfortable life and in return have forgone many things like fancy vacations, luxury cars, etc. We have worked hard and were looking forward to retiring soon. But this plan has changed. Your president is significantly raising our personal and business taxes. He says it is so he can give our hard earned money to other people. Do you know what this means, Ashley? It means less income for us. Less income means we must cut back on many business and personal expenditures. One example is, we were forced to let go of our receptionist today. You know her. She always gave you candy when you visited my office. Did you know she worked for us for the past 18 years? I can’t afford her anymore.

That is a taste of the business side. Some personal economic effects of Obama’s new taxation policies include none other than you. You know very well that over the years your grandmother and I have given you thousands of dollars in cash, tuition assistance, food, housing, clothing, gifts, etc., etc. By your vote, you have chosen another family over ours for help. Judging from your Email requesting more money, I recommend you call 202-456-1111. That is the direct telephone number for the White House. You yourself repeatedly told me I was foolish voting Republican. You said Mr. Obama is going to be the people’s president and is going to help every American live a better life. Based upon everything you have told me and things we heard from him as he campaigned, I am sure Mr. Obama will be happy to send a check or transfer money into your checking account. Have him call me for the transaction and account numbers, which by now I know by heart.

Perhaps you now can understand what I have been saying for all my life: those who vote for the president should consider what the impact of an election will be on the nation as a whole, and not just be concerned with what they can get for themselves (welfare, etc.). What Obama voters don’t seem to realize is all of the “government’s” money he is ‘redistributing’ to illegal aliens and non-taxpaying Americans (deemed “less fortunate”) comes from tax money collected from income tax-paying families. Remember how you told me, “Only the richest of the rich will be affected”? Guess what, honey? Because of our business, your Grandmother and I are now considered to be the richest of the rich. On paper, it might look that way. But in the real world, we are far from it. But, as you said while campaigning for Obama, some people will have to carry more of the burden so all of America can prosper. You understand what that means, right? It means that raising taxes on productive people results in them having less money. Less money for everything, including granddaughters.

Congratulations on your choice for “change”. For future reference, I encourage you to attempt to add up the total value of the gifts and money you’ve received from us over the years, and compare it to what you expect to get over the next four years from Mr. Obama.

Remember, we love you dearly… but from now on you’ll need to call the number referenced above when you need help.

Good luck, sweetheart.
Love,
Grandpa

PS: How was your recent trip to Jamaica? I have never been there but I hear it is lovely this time of year.


%d bloggers like this: