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There are many events that can be categorized as milestones in life – turning 16 or 21, getting married, having a baby or reaching a 50th wedding anniversary. But turning 100 years old is a milestone that warrants a large party, a party that draws hundreds of people.
That’s exactly what happened at Morningside of Lancaster on March 16. Around 300 guests showed up to celebrate Ted Robinson’s 100th birthday at a party held in the parking lot on the Morningside campus.
“It was a phenomenal turnout,” said Mica Jones, Healthy Generation program director at Morningside. “It was just a wonderful day and the weather cooperated nicely, even though it was a bit windy. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for things to go any better.”
Robinson entered the party on a golf cart driven by Thomas Jordan, maintenance director at Morningside.
“Celebration” by Kool & the Gang played on loudspeakers as Robinson made his entrance, smiling and waving at partygoers. Among the guests were Lancaster High School head football coach, Bennie McMurray, and athletic director, Mark Strickland, along with five LHS football players.
“They wanted to come and show their support because Mr. Robinson has been watching Bruins football for so many years,” Jones said. “It was really sweet of them to come and see him.”
“Mr. Robinson has been a loyal fan of the Bruins football program for a long time,” McMurray said. “When we got there I realized who he was, and that I had seen him many times, but didn’t put the name with the face until then. I think it was a good experience for these young men to go and express their appreciation for all he has done over the years, and they had a great time. I think it also gave them a different perspective on things, since many of the folks that were there were elderly. We were very glad to go.”
“They gave me a football helmet,” Robinson said. “Now I guess I’m ready to go play some football when the weather gets warmer. That was one thing I always regretted, not being able to play football when I was in high school. Because my father was a minister, we moved around a lot, between Kershaw and Chester and Lancaster. So when it would come time for football tryouts, I was never eligible to play.”
Robinson is also a fan of college football and basketball, and his two daughters say he loves to watch his grandchildren and great-grandchildren participate in sports.
“He is definitely a sports fan,” said daughter Judy Kirk. “Whether it’s on television or in person, watching sports is one of his favorite things.”
Robinson, who is a World War II veteran, served as a machinist mate aboard the USS Waldron, the ship selected to take members of the press out to the USS Missouri when the peace treaty was signed at Pearl Harbor. That treaty, signed Sept. 2, 1945, brought an end to WWII.
“It was a brand new ship when they put her out on the Pacific,” Robinson said. “But it didn’t take long for it to get messed up out there.”
Mayor Joe Shaw issued an official proclamation from the City of Lancaster, recognizing Robinson’s 100th birthday.
The plaque listed Robinson’s community involvement over the years, including the fact that Robinson was a member of Second Baptist Church for 63 years and helped start Gooches Fire Department.
Jones said Robinson is one of her most active residents, and said while other residents are napping, Robinson is outside in the sun when weather permits.
“He’s also the only male resident I have that exercises with me every day,” Jones said. “He really is so consistent in it, and I think that’s one of his secrets to long life. The other is to be outside in the sun, and to drink plenty of water.
When asked if there were any other secrets to his longevity, Robinson just smiles.
“I go to bed at night, and get up every morning,” he said. “And that’s not much of a secret.”