Friday, Sept. 4, was a memorable day at the Chelsea Senior Center. About two dozen members gathered outside using proper social distancing to
eat lunch and celebrate the 100th birthday of member Al Ruhlig.
Bill O’Reilly, executive director of the Chelsea Senior Center, says that Ruhlig has been a regular attendee at the center’s lunches.
“Al is quite remarkable and still going strong – still driving and living on his own,” said O’Reilly.
Ruhlig lives in Dexter Township, on the farm he has owned for 73 years, just across the street from his parents’ farm where he was born in 1920. He credits good, home-grown food in part for his longevity.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes out here in a hundred years,” said Ruhlig. “Transportation is a big one. It used to be either mules, horses, or buggies. Farming has changed a lot too. It’s become totally mechanized, and the black birds and crows now do most of the damage.”
Ruhlig addressed everyone at his birthday party offering a history on himself and taking questions.
When asked about his participation in World War II, Ruhlig said that he joined the navy in 1944, was on a ship in the Pacific, and arrived in Japan shortly after V-J Day and saw the devastation in Nagasaki.
He was asked about his wife, and Ruhlig said that he and Madonna Guhl married in the spring of 1948, and were married for 65 years until her death in 2013. They had three sons and now have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Following the luncheon, Ruhlig played host to a drive-by and wave event for senior center members who felt more comfortable staying in their vehicles. Family members also plan a birthday party for Ruhlig over Labor Day Weekend.
O’Reilly reminds senior center members that every Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., the center will now be hosting brown bag lunches taking advantage of the fall weather and the center’s new lawn chairs, tents, and patio heaters. Members are asked to bring their own lunch and drinks will be provided.