When Joe Lambert was born Woodrow Wilson was president, the RMS Lusitania still sailed between Liverpool and New York City and the modern marvel of color television was still some three decades from introduction. Before he turned 30, Lambert was a member of the United States Air Force flying supplies into China over The Hump in World War II, and last Tuesday, April 11, he celebrated his 102nd birthday surrounded by family, friends and fellow residents at the Mountain View Retirement Village.
While some centenarians credit a daily cup of wine, whiskey in their morning coffee or regular exercise for their longevity, Lambert’s granddaughter, Megan Hulce, believes her effervescent grandfather’s secret is much less tangible – though just as important.
“He is the life of the party,” she explained. “When everyone tries to calculate what you should do to live to be 100; my grandpa smoked during the war, he definitely went to his share of parties, he’s had loads of friends, he has always loved fruit and I would say he laughs a lot.”
Though this year’s celebration was rather traditional, Lambert rang in his 100th birthday flying in an era warplane, and enjoyed last year’s festivities surrounded by his family and friends at Hooter’s. Regardless of the activity or locale, the popularity of the Altona, Illinois native was felt throughout the celebration; more than a dozen friends and family members stopped by to congratulate Lambert, hand him a birthday card and share in a few laughs.
“My grandpa is my hero,” Hulce said. “He is the only person that I would accord that status.”