WESTPORT, Conn. William Thomas of Westport celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday with a party attended by 30 family members and friends, a card from President Obama, a slice of pizza and champagne. And, of course, cake.
The Bridgeport-born centenarian, who worked as an optician and at one time piloted airplanes and was a flight instructor, views his long life as a gift.
I believe in God, and Im blessed by the Lord, he said. God helped me all the way.
Thomas, who lives with his niece Simone at 5 Canal St. in Westport, was also a professional musician. He said the old Ritz Ballroom in Black Rock was his favorite place to play for dances. Thomas was accomplished on three instruments: the saxophone, clarinet and flute.
Thomas spoke lovingly of his late wife of many years, Bessie. She was a beautiful girl, he said. Among those celebrating with him was his brother-in-law of 60 years, Bessies brother William Pitt.
The birthday party included singing, one of Thomas favorite pastimes. He still watches the Lawrence Welk Show. I know all the songs and enjoy singing along with them, he said.
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