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Crestview resident to turn 100 years old in September, shares secret to his long life

Renee Bell
Crestview News Bulletin
Glen Vandivier, left, served as a medic in the U.S. Army. He is pictured with fellow soldiers in 1945 in Germany. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

CRESTVIEW — Crestview resident Glen Vandivier is looking forward to reaching his 100th birthday in September.

Glen, who lives his stepdaughter, Bonnie, and her husband, Kendall Brent, was born Sept. 11, 1920, in Indiana into a farming family.

After graduating from high school, he worked in a tuberculosis sanitarium, where he served meals to the residents.

He got drafted into the military in 1942. He went to basic training at Camp Abilene in Texas.

Glen Vandivier was born and raised in Indiana. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

One of his best stories about his time in the military comes from when he and his fellow soldiers were being tested physically and had to do push ups.

"He was a farmboy, so he was strong," Bonnie said.

"I laid on my back, lifted 100 pounds on my chest, held it straight up in the air, and laid back down. I was the only one of about 12 people in my barracks that could do that without their feet coming up off the floor when they were doing it," Vandivier said.

Glen Vandivier is pictured in 1941. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

Vandivier served in the 69th Infantry as a medic during World War II. He trained people for two years at Camp Barkley near Abilene before the Army sent his unit to Germany.

He has a Purple Heart due to his service after being wounded twice.

After the war, Vandivier returned to Indiana for a few months.

"I couldn't find a steady job, and I met this woman (his first wife, Virginia). We got married after I'd been out for a year or so, and she had relatives in Michigan," Vandivier said.

He found a steady job in Michigan finally, settling in Flint. The couple had four children, Jean, Debbie, Don and Bill, a son who died. The marriage ended in divorce.

Afterward, he met Betty, Bonnie's mom, and they married in 1981.

Glen Vandivier was drafted into the U.S. Army. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

The family lived in Michigan for a while. They moved to Yuma, Arizona, after he retired from working for a gas and electric company and she retired from nursing as an LPN.

One of the things they enjoyed doing in that retirement community was dancing and socializing. There was a dance hall where live music was played, and over 400 people would come together to dance, socialize and enjoy refreshments.

The Vandiviers eventually moved back to Michigan to be closer to Betty's family, and then to Crestview in September 2019. Betty died at age 88 in December, and Glen decided to stay in Crestview.

Secret to life

Vandivier credits no smoking and no drinking with his long life. That's the advice he'd like to share with others. "Don't smoke and don't drink," he said.

"He doesn't drink, he never has, and he doesn't like cheese. He hates cheese," Bonnie said, laughing.

Vandivier has always been very active. A track star in his high school days, he still walks a lot every day. He doesn't use a cane, and still has his own hair and teeth.

"He's quite proud of that," Bonnie said. "He's always been very healthy … My son bought him an electric scooter — that's going to get dusty."

Vandivier also loves reading. In addition to the newspaper, he reads a book every day or two. His favorites are westerns and murder mysteries, or whatever's at hand.

He enjoys TV westerns as well, such as ones featuring Gene Autry. He also has an organ he enjoys playing, and loves live music.

Bonnie said the family went to the Panhandle Opry in Crestview once, and he loved it.

 "We'd never been before, and he really enjoyed it. That's not an option right now. I’m not taking that chance (with his health)," she said.

Asked about his plans for the next 100 years, Vandivier only has one.

"Just keep going," he said.

Celebrating

Glen is accepting birthday cards for the occasion. They may be mailed to him at Glen Vandivier, 6319 Bethany Drive, Crestview, FL 32539.

A birthday drive by is also scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept.12, at the same address.