Welcome Bloggers to Live to 100 and Beyond

We invite you to celebrate your favorite centenarian by submitting photos and short stories or bios. Please email to adler@ncap100s.org.

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"People have been fascinated by longevity ever since learning of Ponce de Leon’s search in Florida, five centuries ago, for the fountain of youth. In the twentieth century, the search for longevity, and the good health that makes it possible, had been enhanced by discoveries such as antibiotics and other lifesaving drugs, heroic medical interven­tions, which included organ transplants, heart pacemakers and other life-prolonging devices, the emergence of preventive medicine, and a new focus on wellness. On an individual level, people were realizing that, to an ever-increasing extent, they were able to influence life-style factors that could lead to a healthier and longer life—perhaps even a life of 100 years or more." (Opening paragraph from "Centenarians, The Bonus Years," by Lynn Peters Adler, Health Press, Santa Fe, NM, 1995)

Longevity itself is one of the greatest advances of the 20th century, adding approximately 30 years to the average life span. Now, in the 21st century, with the advent of even greater medical advances and the promise shown by stem cell and genetic breakthroughs, the chances for an even greater increase in longevity seems possible.

Active centenarians are our role models. They are helping to redefine aging in new and inspirational ways.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Charles “Cliff” Kayhart, 100

Charles "Cliff" Kayhart, 100; inset WWII service photo
Cliff Kayhart, a U.S. Army Air Corps Veteran, recalls the day he stood on the airstrip of Iowa Jima in 1945 and remarked how low a U.S. B-29 bomber was flying over the island.  He later learned that it was the Enola Gay he had seen, on its way to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. 

Cliff was sharing this memory and many others from his WWII experiences with a group of fellow veterans from South Carolina who were participating in an Honor Flight trip to visit the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Cliff Kayhart at the
WWII Memorial in Wash D.C.
“I was on Iwo Jima at the height of the battle. We landed two days after the flag was raised on Mt. Suribachi. I was commanding an Army Signal Corp battalion.  Our job was to establish a communications system so that all the units on the island could be coordinated. After six months, I was ordered back to headquarters at Fort Shafter in Hawaii. It was while I was waiting for my air transport to take me to my next assignment that I saw the Enola Gay. I became the commanding officer of the inter-island radio station in Hawaii and stayed on for a while after the war ended. In 1946 I left the military as a Captain and returned to civilian life.”

Cliff picked up his career on the engineering side of the communications industry. “I had always been fascinated by radios and airplanes, ever since I was a kid growing up in Bloomingdale, New Jersey. I built my first radio when I was nine and as a teenager built a Heathkit airplane in the basement of our home. But I didn’t see it as a career, and became a runner on Wall Street at 17, and then I went to work for the New York Telephone Company. I soon realized that I wouldn’t get far without a college education, so I decided to go to Indiana where I could study aeronautical engineering, a field I really loved. I graduated in 1934.  It was the Depression, but I got a job in the developing radio industry; it was an exciting time to be in communications. I worked for all of the big corporations at that time: RCA as a quality control manager, then as a service supervisor at Philco Radios, and then at the aircraft instrument division of Bendix Aviation in New Jersey. 

When we got into the war, I joined the Army Signal Corp. They sent me to Harvard and then MIT to study radar.  After my training I was assigned to the Army Air Corp and stationed at Robbins Field in Georgia, briefly. After that I was sent to Hawaii and then on to Iwo Jima.“

Cliff at home with his new "toy"... an IPad.
Back home, Cliff joined Magnavox in 1947 as their first field engineer. “Eventually, they sent me to Greenville, South Carolina,  where I founded a new division for the company.  I retired in 1976 and decided that this would be my home for the rest of my life.”

Today, Cliff keeps current on new technology and recently bought an iPad.  “I like the new technological toys,” he says.  He continues to live in his own home and to drive. There is only one area where he is old-fashioned.  “I still mow my lawn with a push mower – it’s good exercise.”

Visit the Honor Flight website: Honor Flight Network

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ABC Barbara Walters Special - Aging & Longevity

The ABC Barbara Walters Special on longevity aired in April of 2008. I was asked two years ago to participate in this project and it was a wonderful, exhilarating experience. It was both an honor and a privilege to work with Ms. Walters and the talented and caring team of professionals on her staff. I invite you to read the "Behind the Scene" story on our website. Here's the link: http://www.adlercentenarians.org/ABCWalters_special.htm
Posts & comments about the special and the participating centenarians follow. Please scroll down.