Imagine being alive for over a century and still not being ready to die—to be interested in and excited about (and sometimes disgusted with) the world.

Some of you will remember my grandpa Spencer, who was ill a year ago when his abdomen filled with fluid, which made it difficult for him to breathe and sleep. Spencer, who was exasperated by my lack of imagination when I suggested that he wasn’t feeling well because he was old. Spencer, who has lived through numerous wars, who served in World War II as a military police officer, who is outraged that we haven’t learned our lesson yet. Spencer, who has had four holes-in-one, who has spent more time on a golf course than most people spend alive at all. Spencer, who was married to the love of his life, Lucille, for sixty-seven years, who sat beside her as she died, who went on living when she was gone.

Today, my grandpa is 102 years old, and he’s better than ever. He would argue that he’s still a little wobbly when he stands, and he would probably lament how long it’s been since he’s held a golf club in his hands. But he’s eating more, sleeping better, and he’s even learning how to play chess. He’s started thinking about spring and the scenic drives he and my mom will take when Minnesota thaws.
There is no one like Spencer, and I’m so lucky to have him in my life and in my girls’ lives. Happy Birthday, Grandpa! I love you!

Please raise your glass to Spencer today! 


  1. Beautiful. Happy birthday!!

  2. Oh, my glass is held high! Happy Birthday to Spencer. What an amazing man — a true model for all of us! Thank you for sharing him.

  3. Wonderful! Happy birthday, Spencer.

  4. That's who I wanna be when I grow up.

  5. WOW, Kate. I am happy you still have a grandfather! 102 years….
    The pictures are beautiful. Thanks.

  6. What a lovely post and a great man! Happy birthday to your grandfather!

  7. Love this! Thanks for sharing, Kate!

  8. just wonderful.

    and think, he's passing on those hearty long life genes!

    happy birthday!

  9. Wow! Cheers to Spencer!

  10. Wow–102! How lucky you are to have such an amazing ancestor right there in your midst, and how lucky he is to have such an amazing descendant to write him such lovely tributes.

  11. What an amazing man (and he looks fantastic!)! You and your girls are so lucky to have him in your lives. Many happy returns!

  12. Thank you! I think he had a wonderful day, and now he has his eyes set on 103!

  13. Your grandpa sounds awesome! Here's to Spencer!!

  14. That is so incredible. What beautiful pictures. Looking forward to next year's birthday post, Grandpa Spencer!

  15. Happy belated birthday! what a beautiful tribute to your grandfather — your family is so lucky.

  16. Wow, he looks great. Maybe he can write a guest blog post and tell us his secrets 🙂

  17. I've been wondering about your Grandpa and am thrilled to read this! Happy 102 to him!!

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