AP NEWS

Longtime Oxford man turns 100, celebrates birthday with friends at gym where he exercises

May 13, 2019

Urban Huber had one request.

He wanted to share the spotlight with friends who also exercise regularly at La Vita.

One day after he joined the centenarian club, Huber shared a special birthday party Friday with several friends in their 90s.

Lynn Waldera, director of Preventative Health and Wellness at Divine Savior, said many people remarked that Huber looks younger than he is and wondered how he managed to reach 100 years.

“He’s an inspiration; he really is,” Waldera said, adding she first met Huber when he visited the Health and Wellness Center’s atrium three years ago and signed up at the gym on a whim. “Every day, he comes in with a smile on his face.”

His humble secret to living a long and healthy life?

“Just eat healthy, keep active, go to church every Sunday, keep going,” Huber said.

Exercising mind, body

Waldera said older adults benefit greatly from continuous social interaction and exercise to keep their minds and bodies healthy.

Huber was married twice, with one ring on each hand. Although he misses his loves, his four children visit him often, and he enjoys seeing familiar faces at La Vita three times every week.

Huber said he spends a hour on various machines exercising his muscles. His favorite machine is the bicycle.

After he finishes that routine, he submerges himself in a pool for another hour for a relaxing swim.

Divine Savior Healthcare Marketing and Community Relations Director Haley Gilman said Huber is present at the gym all the time, and his good nature helps keep himself and others young.

Gilman said Huber is a respected member of society and the community at La Vita.

“The fact that he wanted to share his day with others was an honor,” Gilman said.

History in farming

On May 9, 1919, Huber was born in Canada to American citizens who were living and working there with family at the time. A few years later, his family returned to Wisconsin, and he’s lived in the village of Oxford all 97 years since.

After he graduated from Portage High School in 1938, Huber was a third-generation dairy farmer for at least 35 years. Other family members now run the farm.

When the Great Depression hit, he helped his family on the farm. After victory was declared in Europe on May 8, 1945 — just one day before his 26th birthday — Huber tended to the livestock. When many families settled into suburbs in the 1950s, he milked the cows.

He felt disappointed when the United States military deferred him from the draft during World War II because he was a farmer. He wanted to serve his country on the battlefield as his peers did, but instead he found enjoyment in serving his country by providing food for the soldiers and other citizens on the forefront.

Years later, Huber has since moved off the farm near Crooked Lake and into a house down the road, but he still enjoys producing fresh food. He grows tomatoes, beans, melons, corn and squash in a garden at his home, He likes to feed wildlife and share crops with his neighbors.

He also donates potatoes, hickory nuts and other goods to the Portage Food Pantry on a regular basis.

Chocolate and celebration

Huber loves the community, his close-knit family, the lifestyle of farming and anything with chocolate.

During the birthday party Friday, Huber was treated to a piece of chocolate cake with chocolate filling before working out as usual.

Waldera estimated about 100 people came to celebrate his and others’ birthdays. Even people he doesn’t know — nurses, doctors, fellow citizens — showed up to wish him well.

Sporting a tropical-themed polo shirt and dress pants, Huber greeted friends and family at the party, receiving gifts and awestruck admiration from people.

As one of his three beloved daughters, Sue Wohlfert, chatted him up and sat by his side, Huber smiled at her and others in between bites of cake. He uttered a simple phrase revealing volumes of gratitude for everyone around him.

“Yum.”