Oldest Pennsylvania Mason Bro. Homer Anderson 106 Years Old Honored by R.W. Grand Master
Homer began his lifetime career as a surveyor and later a registered professional engineer when he was 18 years old by driving a team of horses for a survey group. He also drove stakes and other odd jobs for this group. His title at the time was "a survey coordinator." Since he showed an aptitude for this type of work, he was encouraged to continue his studies in this field. He received a surveyor's license from the Pennsylvania Highway Department, and later he became a registered engineer, licensed by the State of Pennsylvania. He spent most of his 45 years in this profession in western Pennsylvania. He rose through the ranks of his profession, and became the Chief Engineer, Pennsylvania Highway and Bridge Authority, headquartered at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This position he held for five years prior to his retirement. At 65, he decided it was time to retire and moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to enjoy the sun, play golf and live the "good life." Golf has been a lifetime passion.
As many young men at the time, he enlisted in the Army during the World War I and was assigned to the Signal Corps. He was trained as an observer in a balloon squadron. Prior to being shipped overseas, it was determined that balloons were too easily spotted and shot down and that the airplane could do a better job. The group was disbanded and he remained in the States for the remainder of the War. At 106, he is one of the few remaining veterans of WWI.
He met his wife Mary Ruth on a job assignment in Ridgeway, PA and was married in 1920. They established their first home in Brookville, PA. They had two daughters; one, which currently resides in Madison, Connecticut and the other, now lives in Clarington, PA. They were blessed with a union of 68 years.
"What is your secret to longevity," is a question that is often asked of him. It is said that when this question was asked on his 100th birthday, by his fellow ushers at church, after thinking a couple of minutes, he responded, "well, I guess, just don't die". Although the question is a good one, he really does not have a good answer. He said that he did everything wrong when he was younger he used alcohol, smoked, and loved eating cookies and cakes (he still has a sweet tooth) and other foods not considered good for longevity today. His parents and siblings did not live beyond an average lifespan, so it's not hereditary. He thinks that his job may have had something to do with it. As a surveyor, he was required to be outside, walking around in the fresh air. The game of golf is his favorite sport and he played regularly, never using a cart unless the course required it. He often commented, "I play golf for exercise, so I pull my own cart". He played golf until he was 105, and walked the course until well past 100 years old.
Brother Homer is reluctant to give others advise on how to live, but for himself, "The Lord has led me all my life. You just have to be interested in what you are doing, and educate yourself."
He has been a member of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida since he moved to the area in 1962. He has been an active member of the church and ushered for over 30 years. Just prior to his 101 birthday, while ushering he slipped and fell, fracturing his hip. He continued to usher that day, and then went to the hospital. His doctor told him he needed to slow down and stay off his feet when he could. He limited his golf to nine holes, twice a week.
He lost his beloved wife when he was 91 and until a few months ago, lived by himself, maintaining his own home and yard. They are both neat as a pin. On his 104th birthday, Dr. D. James Kennedy, the pastor of his church asked him his secret to longevity and he responded, "TV Dinners." He has never lost his sense of humor.
He is admired, loved and respected by all who come in contact with him. It has been an honor and a true pleasure to have
Our thanks to Bro. Walter D. McCollum, P.M., Deerfield Beach Lodge No. 325, Deerfield Beach, Florida for taking the time out of his busy schedule to research and write this article for the Pennsylvania Freemason.
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