Ron packs a lot into 102 years

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ron Simmons, from Alstonville, has turned 102.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ron Simmons, from Alstonville, has turned 102.

RON Simmons has seen a lot in his 102 years - from designing an underbelly gun for a US bomber in World War II, to knocking back an offer to go to Hollywood as a singer.

But the one thing the Alstonville Adventist Village resident, who celebrated his 102nd birthday last Saturday, February 18, would like to see in today's society is people being more considerate of each other.

Ron was born at Bairnsdale in Victoria and spent much of his life in Geelong and Melbourne working as a painter and decorator.

Singing has been a big part of his life, and it was in 1942 that a Hollywood talent scout heard his baritone voice and offered for him to go to Tinsel Town.

But it was the height of World War II and Ron was working as a draughtsman with the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation where he designed the underbelly gun turret for the Mitchell bomber.

And he also had just married Meryl, who passed away in 2006.

So Ron knocked back the chance to go to Hollywood, but kept singing, and winning various radio competitions.

In the 1980s, Ron and Meryl moved to Alstonville to be closer to their only child, son Daryl.

Ron became a Christian in 1956, and a vegetarian, too - and he doesn't drink or smoke, on the advice of his music teacher from his youth.

He puts down his healthy living to his longevity, saying "it hasn't done me any harm".

He has kept up an interest in technology, and also enjoys doing crossword puzzles to keep his mind just as healthy.

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