Denis Capstick celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday surrounded by family.
Meanwhile, close friends came from afar to leave messages in a book and celebrate with cupcakes.
Mr Capstick is the oldest resident at the Riverside Place retirement home in Diep River.
He previously lived in Grove Place in Claremont and before that in Bloemfontein where his family moved to from Durban when he was 2.
Riverside’s Mandy Price said Mr Capstick had worked for the Bloemfontein municipality as an electrician. “He was off sick once. They asked for a sick note, but his boss told them to give up as the man only had one day off sick in 33 years,” she said.
Ms Price said Mr Capstick was in very good health although hard of hearing.
We found Mr Capstick sitting in his favourite spot in the sunroom sipping coffee and reading the newspapers, including the Bulletin. Asked how he felt about making it to 100, he raised his thumbs and gave a toothy grin.
Moving into the garden, Mr Capstick and his daughter, Jennifer Eddy, reminisced about his late wife, Joy. Mr Capstick met the then Joy Francis on a blind date and took her dancing at Bloemfontein’s city hall. They both loved dancing and married in 1951.
They later decided to move to Cape Town to be nearer to their daughter and granddaughters. Joy died in 2013.
During retirement, the couple loved travelling. Mr Capstick’s favourite place is London followed by Spain, which he said he had been talked into visiting by his travel agent, and also The Butchart Gardens in British Columbia, Canada.
The couple were very involved with Lions International from 1979 and dedicated 25 years of service to the organisation. Among his service projects, Mr Capsick made many trips to Bloemfontein airport to collect special parcels of corneas, which he delivered to the eye clinic for cornea transplant surgeries. And many Saturday mornings were spent braaing boerewors at a Bloemfontein craft market to raise money for Lions projects.
Mr Capstick’ son-in-law, Kevin Eddy, asked him if he had played sport in between “playing the fool”. Mr Capstick said he had played cricket for the municipality and soccer for Kroonstad.
Mr Capstick went to Christian Brothers College and later to Saint Andrews in Bloemfontein.
His first car was a Baby Austin, which he bought for 45 British pounds. Ms Eddy recalled how her dad would remove the engine from the car and service it on the kitchen table. Her mother had not minded, she said.
Mr Capstick had other surprises to look forward to, a visit from his other granddaughter, Nadine, from East London, and a cake donated by Pick n Pay Plumstead.
Grimacing, he put his longevity down to being fed cod liver oil and malt as a child. Better tasting treats, he said, were his mother’s Christmas cakes, stuffed with ticky coins, and trifle with a tot of sherry.