North Dakota man celebrating 104th birthday

News

A lot can happen in a year; think about what can happen over the course of 104.

We sat down with a Minot man who’s celebrating 104 years of life.

He shares his secret to longevity and some highlights of his life, plus we have a special message from a few of the closest people to him.

“I was babied so that’s why I lived so long,” said Ray.

Ray has lived quite a life.

Originally from Portal, he’s the youngest of his three siblings. His family moved to Minot in 1927 when he was 10 years old.

After graduating from high school, he went to Minot State for a semester — where tuition was $12 a semester.

He went on to help with harvest before enlisting in the Army where he served in World War II. After his five year enlistment, he and his family moved back to the farm in Portal.

“They weren’t farming with horses anymore. Farming was more mechanized with combines and tractors. And the house was there for me to take over, so I just thought that was the best place for me and I guess it was,” said Ray.

He was married to his wife, Ellen, for 72 years before she passed at the age of 96 in 2014.

“I guess I found the perfect one to live with,” he said.

He has five daughters, 10 grandkids, 16 great-grandkids and one great-great-grandchild. Ray says they are the highlight of his life.

“I suppose having all my girls at home and just watching them grow up,” Ray said.

We asked all five of his daughters about some of their favorite memories:

“When Teresa was born, and I was 4 years old, and dad brought mom and Teresa home from the hospital and I remember dad carrying mom in a big snowstorm and I was so scared he was going to drop her in the snowstorm, but I was so proud because that little baby came in,” said 73-year-old Connie Toffle.

“I used to sit on my mom and dad’s bed when I was little and beg for my own bike, my own bicycle. One day when I walked out of the house, here was my dad coming down from the garage with a brand new bicycle for me,” said 65-year-old Becky Gray.

“At Christmas time, my dad played Santa Claus and he would leave the house and say he was taking care of the reindeers. We’d get a big knock on the door and I can’t quite remember, I think we took turns answering it, but that was pretty special,” said 77-year-old Julie Antrim.

“I’m going to add to Julie’s. I found the outfit that he wore to be Santa Claus. And it destroyed me,” said 77-year-old Judy Antrim, while laughing.

“I have a lot of good memories of when my mom and dad would come and help us here on the farm with harvest and spring work every year,” said 69-year-old Teresa Glaspey.

Nowadays, Ray spends his time exercising and playing pool — which he says is the key to living a long, healthy life.

He also says reading has helped keep his mind sharp. Plus, he’s found some perks of living past 100.

“I don’t take life serious. When you get to my age, you can say and do anything you feel like it,” he said.

His daughters also had a special message for him:

“Have a wonderful birthday, dad! Wish we could be there,” they all chimed in.

Despite regularly golfing and bowling, Ray never got a hole-in-one or bowled a perfect game.

The KX News team wishes Ray a very happy 104th birthday!

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