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Bellefontaine, OH

Logan County celebrates centenarian’s birthday (Audio included)

Logan County is celebrating the birthday of it’s newest centenarian on Monday.

John Garvin, a resident of rural West Mansfield, was born on June 10th, 1913, making him 100 years of age as of Monday.

In that time, the former local business owner has had eight children, 13 grandchildren, and 27 great-grandchildren.

Unlike many people his age, Garvin still has an extremely active mind and body. He does not have a handicap distinction and enjoys driving on a regular basis. “I feel the lord has blessed me,” Garvin said regarding his physical health.

“I remember working up to when I was 90 and I thought to myself, can’t be true, not 90,” Garvin said of the big milestone. He says many of the same emotions are present as he gains another digit to his age.

“Everything has changed,” Garvin said as he looked back over the past 100 years. He noted how computers weren’t even a thought in his childhood and now being present everywhere.

He recalled at the age of 6 or 7, his parents would go into Bellefontaine on Saturday night to do the regular trading and at that time, about 50 percent of the transportation were automobiles with the other half being horse drawn.

He also took time to note the many medical discoveries that have happened since 1913. Garvin said the technology and understanding we have now has come a long way, even in recent years.

He laughingly remarked that he started teaching a Sunday School class of young couples many years ago and by the time he retired from the position, all the original class participants had become grandparents.

Listen to John Garvin talk about his emotions of turning 100 and advice he has to others

“Now is the time to talk, to ask,” he said when asked for advice for younger people “When you’re 100 years old, you can’t go to very many of your friends and get good answers.”

He also gave guidance regarding the achieving the rare longevity he has attained.

“Many of the things you read in the Bible can be useful in your daily life to help you live longer,” Garvin said. He revealed that “moderation and trust in the lord” has been his secret to old age. He also remarked the absence of drinking and smoking in his life has helped him tremendously through the years.

Void of the usual medical problems that plague someone his age, Garvin recently had a heart attack in 2010. Up until that time, he was still cutting wood and actively working outside in the garden and orchard at his home.

A woodworking accident during his middle-aged years almost caused Garvin to have a leg amputated. The second opinion of a nearby surgeon allowed his leg to be saved, which he still actively uses.

He has been married twice with his first wife having passed away in 1993 after 58 years of marriage. He then married his current wife, Ruth Garvin, in 1995 with them recently celebrating 18 years of marriage.

Garvin has been a resident of either Logan or Union County his entire life. Though he has not attended college, he has become a prominent businessman in the community through many different facets.

He began working his first job at National Bellas Hess, a department store in the area, for $6 a week during and after he attended Hayes High School. His next job was through G.C. Murphy a 10-cent store in town for the same amount. He then began work at F.N. Johnson Grocery through the recommendation of a friend. He started work at $10 a week when a short time later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated a multi-part recovery program, part of which included WPA, that brought minimum wage of the business he worked for up to $13 a week.

After his work for the various local stores, he began work for himself by starting Garvin’s IGA in West Mansfield. The business that began “on a shoe string” and inhabited what is now the village’s post office was successful through his hard work and dedication over many years. In 1962, the business moved to where Field’s Grocery is now located.

He continued to operate the store until he retired at the age of 70. When asked what he was planning to do after retirement, he responded by saying he finally had time to get work done.

Garvin has been an active member of Calvary Baptist Church for many years where he has served many positions including deacon, and Sunday school superintendent.

He has also been an extremely active member in the West Mansfield Lion’s Club where he has been a member since 1955. The club recently named him the Lion of the Year for his devoted service.

An extremely interesting and wise man, John Garvin gives 100-years-old a new meaning with his sharp mind and active body. He has done a great amount for the community in the past century and has been a part of the change within the area and the world.

“Looking back you realize this, as time goes on, time doesn’t seem that impressive to you. I’m not impressed by 90 or 100 years at all,” Garvin said. “It’s just a flash of time and that’s all.”

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