When you’ve lived a century (or more), there’s not a lot you
need. There I go painting with a broad brush, but in
my experience with centenarians, I’ve found most have the art
of living down to a fine science that requires few material
Oh, sure, there are always folks like centenarian Seahawks fan
Schindler, who might like a 12th man jersey in the team’s new
colors, to prove me wrong. But most of the centenarians I’ve met
are pretty content with the basics: food, fun, family (including
caregivers, who often count as extended family), and the bliss of
as many afternoon naps as they damn well please.
Earlier this week, we got an email from Rosheil Periquet Che,
asking if we’d publish notice of her grandfather’s 100th birthday.
Felicisimo Buen of Port Orchard, born in the Philippines, served in
the U.S. Merchant Marine and grew berries on a South Kitsap farm
much of his life. “Felix” and his late wife Elnora had no
biological children, but were grandparents to Che and her cousins.
Buen was, “the only living grandfather in my life, helped raise me
since 3 months old, and has given me a lifetime of memories growing
up in his farm, which served as a playground for my cousins and
me,” Che said.
Buen, who farmed into his late 80s, turns 100 on Sunday. His
family attributes his strong constitution to his habit of eating
the same breakfast meal each day, consisting of a mug of hot water,
one hard boiled egg, and a piece of toast.
“I find that nothing can be purchased for this special occasion
to show my appreciation and love,” said Che, who asked where and
how the story of her grandfather’s life could be published in the
Kitsap Sun. (Stay tuned for instructions.)
We get a surprising number of inquiries about people turning
100, and there are more joining the centenarian club all the time
it seems. According to a 2011 report from the U.S. Census, there
53,364 centenarians in 2010, a 5.8 percent increase from 2000. Of
the total U.S. population in 2010, 1 out of every 5,786 people was
a centenarian; 82.8 percent were female; only 32.3 percent lived in
skilled care facilities. Meaning about two-thirds of the 100+
population remain relatively independent.
So many Kitsap residents now reach 100, that we don’t do
feature-length stories on all of them. We did write about
Emma Otis, a “supercentenarian” who turned 110 last October.
And two years ago, we wrote about then-nearly-99-year-old Angy
Parrish. Parrish’s claim to fame? She was, at least at that time,
still square dancing.
But your special centenarian need not be a “super” or have a
schtick, like Parrish, to get the attention he or she deserves.
There are two ways to publish their amazing life stories.
Although we don’t yet have a special form for 100-year-olds, you
can fill out the online submission wedding announcement form with
your centenarian’s life and birthday information. We’ll make sure
the item reads correctly. Like all our announcements, you can
submit a certain number of words for free and will be charged for
longer items. The form allows you to see the charges before you
submit, so you can shorten it if you need to. Find the
form under the “submit” Tab on the Kitsap Sun homepage,
Alternately or in addition, you can submit a free “Your News”
item. Scroll down the Kitsap Sun home page; find “Your News” and
“submit.” You will need to create a profile/account with the Kitsap
If you need any help, call me.
Happy birthday Felix. Here’s more from Ms. Che:
“Felicisimo Buen, who is known as Felix by his friends and
family, was an immigrant from the Philippines. Residing in Port
Orchard, Washington after retiring from the US Merchant Marines, he
purchased his home and farm land in the 1940′s, producing
raspberries, blueberries, apples, grapes, blackberries, plums, and
strawberries that were sold locally and also at the local farmer’s
“Felix’s his wife of 26 years, Elnora N. Buen, passed away in
2010. Though they did not conceive children of their own because
they married later in life, they were actively involved in the
upbringing of their grand-nieces and -nephews, whom they considered
to be their own grandchildren. Together, they lived a quiet, simple
life, but never alone with family living in the same neighborhood
and in close by towns.
“Nothing could come between him and his work; there was always
something to be done around such a vast property. Felix never
wanted to stop on his farm until he was finally physically unable
do so his late 80′s. We credit to his long life due to his constant
repetition of habits and exercise, whether it was working in the
fields from dawn until sunset, or eating the same breakfast meal
consisting of a mug of hot water, one hard boiled egg, and a piece
of toast. He now resides in the care of his niece, Sheila Periquet,
at her adult care home, which is conveniently just a walk away from
“Though things are foggy in memory, and he does not have much to
say nowadays, there are two facts he seems to know for certain: 1.
The recognition of his grandchildren. His face lights up to greet
me on my visits as ‘little girl’ (though I am now quite grown). 2.
That his farm is ‘over there,’ just beyond a few trees and down a
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