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Centenarian credits cod liver oil for longevity


Percy Hobbs does not act his age, and he'll be the first to admit it.

The Havre resident, who celebrated his hundredth birthday on Thursday, enjoys walks, talking politics, and watching sports on TV. In fact, he doesn't feel any older than he did 50 years ago.

"I feel good," he said. "I've never felt better."

Hobbs, who now resides in the Eagles Manor, was born May 22, 1903 in a cabin in the Bear Paw Mountains during a spring snow storm.

"There was four feet of snow on the ground," he said. "It took the doctor three days to get up there, and by the time he did, I was already born."

Hobbs never attended school, instead working on a farm south of Havre during his early years. When his father died when he was nine, Hobbs embarked on a lifetime of work and adventure.

Hobbs lost his left eye when he was 13 while helping harvest wheat. He said having only one eye has not slowed him down in the slightest.

"I spent years all over," he said. "I've seen the country, I know that much." The centenarian worked the mines in Butte and paved highways all across the Northwest, finding work in Coeur d'Alene, Seattle, and Rocky Boy.

His last job was as a mechanic for the Chevrolet dealership in Havre, where he worked for 25 years before retiring in 1966.

He laughs when he remembers quitting work.

"When I retired, they said I'd die within five years," he said. "But I'm still here and the doctors are all dead. I feel better today than I did the day I retired."

After retirement, Hobbs made a home in Box Elder until he moved to to Havre in 1982.

He said he has enjoyed his 21 years at the Eagles Manor.

"It's a wonderful place," he said. "Some people don't like the food, but I've never had a problem with it. I really like it here. I am in better shape now than I was when I got here."

And how has Hobbs managed to stay healthy and outlive the doctors?

"What's my secret?," he asked. "Cod liver oil. B-12 and cod liver oil."

Hobbs said he witnessed many changes during his century-long life.

"Everything's changed," he said. "Everything. Nothing is the same. The work has changed, the cars have changed, the inside of houses have changed and people dress different. I saw on TV today a woman playing golf and she was beating the men."

Hobbs said he likes seeing women compete with men.

"I want to live until a woman becomes president," he said. "That should be about five years from now. I would like to live to see that."

Hobbs said he has only one regret.

"I wish they didn't take my driver's license away," he said. "I've been driving my whole life, and I wish I still had it. " Hobbs said he lost his license last fall after he couldn't pass the written test.

He smiles when remineces about buying his first car.

"I was 19 and I bought a Ford roadster," he said. "I paid $257.15, and I paid in cash." Hobbs added that he doesn't think he could get much of a car for $200 today.

"That's changed too," he said. "Just like everything else."

On Saturday, Hobbs' family will celebrate his birthday with a picnic in Pepin Park. Relatives from all across Montana, including Great Falls, Billings and Polson will descend on Havre for the event. Five generations will at the picnic, which Hobbs said he is excited for.

"All my family is gonna be there," he said. "And I've got quite a bunch of them."


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