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Brewer man shares his secrets to 100 healthy, happy years

Ed Hendrickson turns 100 on November 14th
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 8:56 AM EST
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BREWER, Maine (WABI) - World War II veteran Ed Hendrickson of Brewer is celebrating his 100th birthday on Saturday, November 14th. But as TV5′s Brittany McHatten found out, every day is a celebration of life for Ed.

(This is part two of a two-part series. Part one can be seen here.)

“I just happen to be that kind of a person,” said Hendrickson. “I don’t like to think of bad things. Sometimes I overdo it trying to be humorous, which I’m not, and I get the devil for it sometimes. I just kind of think positive. I just think of good things.”

His daughter, Ellen Hendrickson, says she’s been impressed with the way her father has been able to remain positive, even through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every once and a while I get a little bit depressed, and I have to get myself out," Ed explained. "So I’ll either turn music on, it helps me, or just finally say - ‘Take it easy Ed, let’s not get all excited now.’”

Bright colors help him, too. He’s known for his signature look: tie dye.

“I like pretty colors," he said.

One topic that will always bring a smile to his face -- the memory of his late wife, Effie. Ed was friends with Effie’s brother growing up, but it took some time for their love story to develop.

“I came back from the Pacific on a 30-day leave, and then Effie and I decided to go out,” said Hendrickson. “We went to the movies that night, and we went together ever since.”

They were married 62 years and had two children, Ellen and Eric.

How were they able to make it last?

“We just fell in love, that’s all,” Hendrickson explained. “We both had to put a lot into it, though. We both had a mind of our own so we had a few squabbles but we always made up and got over it. That’s the one thing I always tell any of our relatives that’ve gotten married: the one thing you want to do when you get married, no matter what kind of a squabble you have at night, when you go to bed, make sure you kiss your lady and say I love you. "

For the final two decades of Effie’s life, Ed served as her primary caretaker. It wasn’t an easy task, but he didn’t hesitate to step up.

“He cooked, cleaned, drove, took her to the doctor. All with an incredible attitude,” Ellen, their daughter, said.

After he death in 2007, Ed knew he had to make a change in his life. Skiing popped into his mind.

“I just love to get in the snow. Have all my life. Started when my mother had me on my skis when I was about three,” he said.

He stopped going to the mountain when his wife could no longer join, but he quickly found his groove again. In 2013, at age 93, he skied 95 days in a row, driving back and forth from Carrabassett Valley every day. That feat earned him Sugarloaf’s Iron Man award.

“A lot of people couldn’t do that if they had to,” he said.

While he’s not sure if he’ll ski at all this year, he finds other ways to stay active. He walks one mile every day, preferably outside. However, if the weather isn’t cooperating, he’ll walk the halls and stairways of his independent living home, looping around until he hits the mile mark. He supplements his walks with weighted workouts a few times a week. Pre-pandemic, he was training at the Downeast Wellness Center in Brewer. These days he sticks to working out in his apartment.

“You’ve got to stay active,” Hendrickson explained. “I’ve watched other people in our facility that don’t do much exercise and they go downhill awfully fast. I can feel myself going downhill, and I want to keep going as long as I can.”

Another one of Ed’s secrets to 100 healthy years? “Stay away from too much butter, sugar, and all that stuff,” he says.

He also knows there’s a time to treat yourself.

“Well, of course I love crab rolls. I love lobster rolls. After that, what else is there?”

Happy birthday, Ed.

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