Local resident and World War ll veteran Abe Nungesser celebrated his 100th birthday on Sunday at a party held at Christ Lutheran Church in Valencia.
About 70 of Nungesser’s family members, friends and members of his community showed up to celebrate the grand achievement with him.
So how does it feel to be 100 years old? “I feel like I’m 99 years old,” joked Nungesser.
Nungesser said he did not want to have a birthday celebration, but his family insisted. When the time came, however, he seemed happy to be surrounded by the ones he loved.
“Well, I’m not particularly fond of celebrations, I guess you might say, particularly when it draws attention to yourself,” said Nungesser. “[But] I’m grateful for the fondness they might have. We do what we have to do and we have to show appreciation. And of course, I’m personally happy this was held in a good location with the good Lord here as well.”
Patty Magnuson, Nungesser’s step-daughter, held back tears when talking about how much of an impact Nungesser has had on her life.
“This is my step-dad and to have an angel be 100 is amazing to me,” said Magnuson. “So, he’s looking forward to it and I’ve been looking forward to it.”
Magnuson said that although Nungesser didn’t want a party, it was because he’s a selfless man — caring more about others and their well-being than himself. Magnuson said that was the key to her stepfather’s longevity.
“Caring and putting other people first because that’s really how he is,” said Magnuson. “I think maybe that’s all how we should [be] because, I think that gives you joy… He’s worried about everybody else before himself. So I think it’s just a nice way to look at life.”
Anytime someone talked about Nungesser they got choked up and all said that Nungesser was always there for them, offering assistance whenever needed.
When asked what the key to a long life was, Nungesser joked, saying, “Keep your heart pumping.” However, this was a double-entendre, because when asked if he meant to keep your heart open, Nungesser said, “Always, a little bit of everything.”