Willard Raymor celebrates 100th birthday at Simpson Senior Center
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, September 2005) On Friday August 26th, Willard Raymor celebrated his 100th birthday with friends at West Side Community House’s Simpson Senior Center at W. 86th and Clark Avenue.
Asked about his secret to longevity, Raymor said “I never really hated anybody in my life. Sometimes I didn’t like what a person did, but I didn’t hate them. Hating takes too much energy.” Raymor said he also liked to go dancing every week.
Raymor, a resident of W. 111th Street, says, “I’ve had a good life.” Raymor was married to his wife Marie for 56 years. He says she passed away about 10 years ago. Raymor said he and Marie had no children, but he has a number of nieces and nephews. Raymor’s sister, Elmerdeane Martin, his only surviving sibling, came to the birthday party from Ravenna, Ohio.
Raymor says he was always a forman of sorts in the jobs he held. Raymor says he worked in Research and Development for TRW for 26 years where, as a machinist, he built parts. He says he had a hand in a number of inventions including a gadget that would take the knocks out of a gasoline engine.
“I used to get ideas, tell the boss, then he would take the credit. I didn’t like that. So I told everyone else first about a new idea, then I told the boss.”
Prior to working at TRW, Raymor said he worked on submarines as a diesel mechanic in shipyards. During that time period he said he also participated in some new inventions.
Seniors from West Side Community House’s Friendship Center on W. 30th and Bridge and Bridge and the Simpson Senior Center participated in the party. West Side Community House executive director Dawn Kolograf says seniors from the two senior centers know each other through a number of joint activities held throughout the year. Hatton’s Deli & Restaurant donated food for the party and Sam’s Club donated the birthday cakes.
The Simpson Senior Center of West Side Community House serves lunch daily and offers a variety of services to seniors in the neighborhood. Transportation is available. For more information call Yvette Medina, Senior Program Coordinator at 651-9285.
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