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24 March 2017
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Zupansky still smiling at 104

He moved from Ukraine to Canada at age 19. He credited hard work for his longevity, often reciting how he worked in paper mills, on highways, on railroads, in a mine, and at a grain elevator. A backyard garden also helped keep him occupied...

John Zupansky puts on a big smile whenever he‘s asked how it feels to celebrate his 104th birthday, reads an article by Chen Chekki, The Chronicle Journal.

The Thunder Bay resident, who moved out of his own house and into a long-term care home at age 102, has some advice for those who want to attend his 105th birthday next year.

“If you find out I‘m 105, you come down to see me, but bring me a brandy,” the Thunder Bay resident said Saturday, while sitting in his wheelchair inside his room at Pinewood Court care home.

Surrounded by a plethora of family photos flowing all the way to his great great grandchild, the birthday boy credited hard work for his longevity, often reciting how he worked in paper mills, on highways, on railroads, in a mine, and at a grain elevator. A backyard garden also helped keep him occupied.

He moved from Ukraine to Canada at age 19, and in 1928 he married his girlfriend, Katherine, who died 14 years ago.

Pauline Orr, 77 – one of Zupansky‘s four children – says aside from her dad having a fading memory in the last six months and arthritis, it‘s his “strong heart” that keeps him going.

Eating and sleeping at regular times of the day was the norm, whether or not he was hungry or sleepy. Any food was quite alright for Zupansky, as long as it was not too hot.

He used to smoke, but quit many years ago, and he always likes a good drink, as he often tells his family to bring him brandy.

“And now he tells us, ‘no more than half a litre of brandy,‘ but we give him half an ounce,” Orr said.

A good beer also makes him happy, as long as it‘s the European kind.

“Canada-made beer is not good compared to European beer,” Zupansky said.

Wearing a black baseball cap with the number 104 sewn on the front, he appeared to relish the birthday bash, galavanting with friends and family and telling others to “take it easy” as they left.

By Chen Chekki, The Chronicle Journal

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