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‘100 Club’ centenarians reflect on long lives, offer wisdom

Robert Fannin, Anne Huff, and Kenneth Lindow

Centenarians (from left) Robert Fannin, Anne Huff, and Kenneth Lindow were celebrated at Gateway Villas and Gateway Gardens in Marble Falls on Sept. 22. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Three centenarians at Gateway Villas and Gateway Gardens in Marble Falls celebrated their long and interesting lives on Sept. 22. Representatives from the assisted-living facility refer to the group as the “100 Club.” 

During a party for the group on Friday, the 100-year-plus residents told stories about their childhoods, offered advice for younger generations, and highlighted how major inflection points in world history altered their lives.

Anne Huff, a 102-year-old former schoolteacher from Wisconsin, was quick to offer wisdom to this reporter.

“Keep on learning,” she said. “Keep on doing. Grow up, and every day, do something.”

Huff was a child of immigrants from Eastern Europe.

“I never knew my grandparents or aunts or uncles or anything,” she said. “My mother and father were the only two who came to this country. They made it work.”

She didn’t arrive in Texas until she was 85 years old.

“I found out then that I was missing out,” she said.

Kenneth Lindow, 101, is a former track star who won a Texas state championship in the long jump in 1940.

“I had the record (for long jump) in four different places,” he said. “Cameron, Conroe, Liberty, and Livingston.”

He later attended Rice University in Houston until Japanese bombers struck Pearl Harbor in 1941, effectively pushing America — and Lindow — into World War II.

“I quit Rice and joined the Navy,” he said.

Lindow served mainly as a teacher while in the U.S. Navy.

“I taught Morse Code, (nautical) flags, and anything else they wanted me to teach,” he said.

Lindow was shipped to the Pacific Theater to instruct soldiers on how to use rocket launchers on aircraft carriers. It didn’t take long before atomic bombs were dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, allowing Lindow to return to the United States.

“We didn’t know what the hell an atomic bomb was, but I was home by Christmas,” he said.

Another centenarian, 100-year-old Robert Fannin, also served in the armed forces during World War II.

“At a certain age, I joined the National Guard,” he said. “When the war came around, (the U.S. Army) got me.”

Fannin grew up in a Methodist orphanage in Alabama following the death of his father to pneumonia at age 32.

“My mother had no work experience, so she had to put us somewhere,” he said. “She put us in the orphanage there. When I reached a certain age, I joined the U.S. Army.

The former officer attained the rank of major before eventually retiring from the military.

“My life has been the Army,” he said. “My experience in life has been the Army.”

Fannin encouraged people to take life “one day at a time” and try new things.

Huff agreed.

“Don’t just sit around and bury yourself,” she said. “Keep busy and do all kinds of things and try all kinds of things.”