Pickerington Times-Sun

Happy birthday

Gregarious Griffith celebrates 100 years


After spending a couple of minutes chatting with Wendell Griffith, it's not difficult to understand how he recently became a certified Pickerington centenarian.

Wendell exudes the kind of positive and easygoing attitude that many aging experts say impact a person's longevity.

Griffith celebrated the big 1-0-0 at his home, Pickerington's Amber Park Assisted Living Community, among friends and family Jan. 27.

He is the first Amber Park resident to reach the milestone, which was commemorated with a proclamation from Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray.

When interviewed a month later at Amber Park, Griffith said he harbored no secrets as to living long, but reflected that his way of dealing with life has always been to take things as they come.

"I make the most of it," Griffith said.

"For instance, right now I'm doing this (interview)," he said. "I look at every day and decide it's going to be a positive day, that's how I approach every day."

Amber Park Administrator Jennifer Adams said Griffith's philosophy of "not sweating the small stuff" has served him well and is a great example for others, regardless of age.

"A lot of people lose sight of that," she said, adding Griffith is actively engaged in what goes on at Amber Park.

"As we age there are a lot of misconceptions about whether or not it's still possible to have a high quality of life," Adams said.

"Wendell's living proof that you can have a high quality of life.

"He has friends here, he goes to all the musical events, he still cares for himself, he's still amazingly independent," she said.

"I have a happy outlook on life," Griffith said.

Born in Greenfield, Ohio Jan. 26, 1914, Griffith said his father sold "touring cars and sedans" as an automobile dealer.

"I worked there right up through high school," he said.

Griffith then attended Antioch College, where he parlayed a job in the accounting office into a full-time career in the field.

It was also at Antioch where he met the love of his life, Katherine Gibbs.

"She went to school there, her father was on the faculty," Griffith said.

They married and four children followed, as did a prosperous career as chief financial officer for Capital City Products in Columbus.

He retired from the company after 38 years, but not from work. He obtained his CPA degree in 1980 and was self-employed as an accountant right up until age 95.

Griffith said the key to life is to not procrastinate in any endeavor.

"I always go on the basis that most of it has to be done. Then do it," he said.

Adams said being social plays an important role in Griffith's life as well.

"Loneliness ages people faster than any illness can," she said.

Griffith agreed. "I like seeing people," he said.

Not dwelling on any past failures or hurts or loss also comes into play, Adams said.

"He's enjoying life in the present moment," she said. "For Wendell, he sees that as a blessing."

"It's a lot more than a lot of people are doing," said Griffith, with a smile.