One hundred years may seem like a long time to live, but to new centenarian Ed Hetzer, the number does little to change his perspective.
“I feel about the same,” said the oldest Garden Place resident, who celebrated the milestone on Dec. 30.
A north St. Louis native, Hetzer served as a St. Louis police officer for 30 years. Hetzer told the Republic-Times that he is also the oldest living retired St. Louis police officer.
“That’s what they told me when I retired,” he said.
Of the perks he came to appreciate with the law enforcement career, Hetzer said the variety of cases he worked was his favorite.
“It was an interesting job. Every day was different,” he said.
Before becoming a police officer, Hetzer served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during the last few years of World War II. Hetzer was stationed mainly at Dale Mabry Army Airfield in Tallahassee, Fla.
In 1945, the base was placed on inactive status.
“My work was interesting. I was in a fighter pilot training base,” Hetzer said. “We trained cadets out of school, and they would get 80 hours and go overseas.”
Until several months ago, Hetzer said he lived in his house in St. Peters, Mo. He continues to move around with a walker and even went hunting with his son at the age of 99.
“He’s great. He’s 100 and still walking around,” Garden Place employee Tina Roedl said. “He is definitely a really good guy.”
To celebrate Hetzer’s 100th birthday, family and friends came to Garden Place for cake and live entertainment.
Elizabeth LaKamp sang such songs as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”
Also during the celebration, Garden Place staff gave LaKamp a script with a few words to share about Hetzer’s character.
“In numerology, Ed’s birthday numbers 12, 30 and 1917 reveal that his life path number is 6, which represents justice, nurturing and responsibility,” the script reads. “That life path number means Ed possesses great compassion and seeks to be of service to others. And that did in fact come to be.”
Thrown into the notes of the script was also Hetzer’s secret to a long, healthy life — a bowl of vanilla ice cream almost every night.
The staff wrote, “We figure that must be his secret for living for so long.”
We at the Republic-Times aren’t here to endorse any one eating habit, but we certainly won’t discourage those willing to try this delicious formula.