By Curt Peterson
Hartland resident John Kapise of Bohaka Road celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday, Aug. 5.
He served in the U.S. army artillery from 1942 to 1945, starting in England and helping drive the Nazi army through France and into Germany before the surrender. After the war and a stint on the grounds crew at Dartmouth College, he worked for Goodyear in Windsor until age 55.
“They made me quit then because they said I had a heart condition,” he said. “But I’m still here.”
Jim Lawrence, who was bringing Kapise a Meal on Wheels, and his wife Vicki also delivered two cupcakes adorned with “100” and one with a candle, two birthday cards, and, on behalf of the Hartland Historical Society, the “Hartland Cane.”
The wooden cane is given to the town’s oldest resident, often as they reach the century mark. It was modeled in 1990 after the original “town cane” created in an early twentieth century Boston Globe advertising campaign. Ultimately the cane will be returned to the Historical Society until the next recipient is identified.
“Pretty soon I’ll be needing this,” Kapise said, holding the ribbon-festooned walking stick in the air.
Kapise enjoys watching squirrels, crows, a fox, and a woodchuck, all of which visit daily. Recently, his niece has been making very frequent visits and often stays over to make sure the centenarian has care and everything he needs.