Lifestyle, News

Centenarian celebrated at War Memorial

Celebrating a 100th birthday at War Memorial Hospital’s extended care unit are, left to right, director Shawna Athey of Berkeley Springs; resident John Kielek, 100; and Stacy Clatterbuck, RN, of Berkeley Springs.

by Lisa Schauer

Caregivers and residents at War Memorial Hospital’s extended care unit gathered to celebrate one resident’s 100th birthday on Monday, February 13.

Surrounded by family members, John Kielek, 100, formerly of Baltimore, was enjoying a birthday lunch of pepperoni pizza, sheet cake and Sprite in the unit’s decorated sunroom.

“Live a good life and do right because your life is better when you do the right thing,” said Kielek, who was born in 1923, when Calvin Coolidge was president and the most popular vehicle on the road was Henry Ford’s Model T.

But Kielek never had much use for a motor vehicle, only owning one his whole life. He preferred to walk everywhere or take the trolley.

At 18, Kielek was drafted into the U.S. Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, Germany’s last major offensive toward the end of World War II in Europe.

After the war, he returned to Baltimore, married, had three children and a career at Martin Marietta. His wife passed in 2006.

Up until the age of 92, Kielek was walking about five miles a day, and he still walks the halls for exercise every day. Over 80 percent of centenarians are female, making him something of a rarity at his residence.

“I always walked everywhere, and I liked visiting my friends in the graveyard at my old neighborhood,” recalls Kielek, who moved into War Memorial’s extended care unit over a year ago.

“His doctor recommended this place. There was a six-month waiting list. People said ‘get him in here and he will be blessed’,” said his son, John Jr. of Warfordsburg.