102 and Counting

Kalispell man celebrates 102nd birthday surrounded by friends and family

By Justin Franz
Bob Ewing blows out candles on his cake while celebrating his 102nd birthday with family and friends at Prestige Assisted Living in Kalispell on Sept. 9, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

After 102 trips around the sun, Bob Ewing has learned a few things about longevity. Ewing, who turned 102 on Sept. 10, said the secret to a long life is never worrying about something that is out of your hands, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

The latter was clear on Wednesday afternoon when, after blowing out the two candles atop his birthday cake (102 candles would have been a fire hazard), he dipped his finger in the frosting before the cake had even been cut.

“Hey now, it’s my birthday,” he said to friends and family gathered at Prestige Assisted Living in Kalispell for an early party in his honor.

After more than a century on earth, it’s OK to indulge every once and a while.

Ewing was born in El Paso, Texas in 1913 and later lived in California. During World War II he served in the South Pacific with the United States Air Force. While Ewing talked about his service, one of his sons leaned in to correct him.

“Actually Dad, you served in the Civil War,” said Dan Ewing with a smirk.

Without missing a beat, Ewing shot back and said, “I can still take you out of the will.”

A few years after the war, Ewing and his wife, Terry, moved to Montana. He said he first came to the area on a fishing trip.

“I came up here to go fishing and I just fell in love with Montana,” he said.

After arriving in the Flathead Valley, he opened Ewing Warehouse Furniture. While running the business kept him busy, he always left plenty of time for his passion: fishing. Celebrating his 102nd year, Ewing told friends and family tales from the river, including one day on the Smith when he caught nine fish with one cast.

“Some of the stories are even true,” Ewing said with a smile.

Sherry Mayeaux, community relations director for Prestige, said Ewing’s smile is a constant presence at the assisted living facility.

“He’s a wonderful man and he always has a smile on his face,” she said. “He just has a really warm spirit.”

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