The Woodward News

October 1, 2012

Area resident celebrates milestone

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — An area farmer recently celebrated a milestone birthday while surrounded by family.

During the Harper and Mahan Family Reunion this weekend, Herman Harper was recognized for his upcoming 100th birthday.  Herman will officially reach the centennial mark on Oct. 27.

In addition to being honored by his extended family, Herman was presented with a plaque from Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill to congratulate Herman on his 100 years of life.

He has also been getting some media attention, because in addition to visiting with The News on Saturday, Herman said, 'The High Plains (Journal) wrote an article on me too."  

When asked what he thought of all the attention he was getting, Herman said, "Well I guess its pretty neat."

Herman was born in 1912 in Quinlan to his parents Earnest and Hanna (Laubach) Harper.  He grew up in a large family with 7 brothers and 2 sisters.  He went on to graduate from Mooreland High School in 1932.

Despite Herman's age he remains in remarkable health, so much so that he's still farming nearly 350 acres of his own land southeast of Mooreland.

"I've been doing it since I was 8. Heck I've been doing a man's work since I was a boy," he said. "When I turned 65 a bunch of guys come by asking to rent my land; I guess they thought I'd be retiring or something.  I had to send them off disappointed."

Herman did take a small respite from farming when he served in the Navy during World War II. Herman served nearly 4 years during which time he traveled to North Virginia, Hawaii, California, Ohio, Rhode Island, the Panama Canal, and Guam.

When asked about his future plans now that he's made triple digits, Herman told The News, "I may slow down a little, but I never plan to quit farming entirely. I always plan on at least keeping a garden. I also like fishing and watching horse races, so maybe I'll do a little of that."

When asked what the secret was to his longevity, Harper said, "Well I never got married, so I never had a boss. That helped. That's what I tell the guys down at the barbershop when they ask."

"Also clean living, I never did any smoking or drinking.  And you got to keep moving, you sit still and that rocking chair will get you," he said.