Mville man celebrates 103rd birthday
August 28, 2008 · Updated 10:54 AM
MARYSVILLE Former resident Chet Moyer returned to town last weekend to celebrate his 103rd Birthday with friends and family. Moyer was born on Oct. 6, 1903 and is still sharp mentally and physically: he adroitly belted out his favorite tune God Bless America to an audience at Grandview Village, the retirement community he called home for several years.
When I get to be 105 Im really going to blow the cork! Moyer said to great effect.
He sang with a loud, clear voice powered by a set of leather lungs and backed by a two-piece band. He did just fine a capella, too.
Moyer was born in the western-Washington hamlet of Hamilton and graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School in 1922. He worked on the Baker River Dam and recalled singing at the 1930 Worlds Fair in Chicago.
They had a cathedral out their on the west side of Chicago and we sang out there every Sunday, Moyer recalled. During the worlds fair we sang every day.
Hard of hearing and wearing a pair of artificial ears, Moyer nonetheless walks and talks very well. His sharp mind is like a steel trap and he remembers the beginnings and the end of one of his largest customers, Pan-Am Airlines, which he has outlived by decades. Pan Am was founded in 1927 and collapsed in 1991. Moyer by contrast is still flying high.
Moyer used to own a supper club in Fairbanks, Alaska, for 10 years and he bragged that could serve steaks to his customers everyday. He recalled getting his first real job in Chicago at the Palmer House Hotel, 2,240 rooms, all with private baths.
He got roped into staying in Fairbanks during World War II when he signed on at Ladd Field and the defense department froze him to his job for the during of the conflict, quite literally at times. After that he opened the supper club that was what they called nightclubs back then and was married and divorced for the first time in a year. The second one took nine years and a house, and Moyer took his proceeds and traveled around the United States with his parents for two years, from Alaska to Mexico.
We went from coast-to-coast, north-and-south, Moyer remembered. Then the next year we went back over the same route all over again.
Later in life he would tour for five years with the Seattle Mens Chorus.
Ive sang all my life, ever since I was a kid, he said, recalling his beginnings at the Methodist Church in Sedro-Woolley.
For a man who lived to see the Model T and the space shuttle, Moyer has done a lot, including singing at an Everett Aquasox game last July. He sang with evangelist Billy Graham to inaugurate the Kingdome in Seattle; something else he has outlived. He studied accounting in college, but as his life reaches the final debits and credits he gives sobering advice to todays youth.
Go where your feelings effect you, mostly. If youve got something in mind that you can do, do it.
According to Moyer his biggest disappointment is letting other people dissuade him from things he wanted to do. Instead of following his dreams he was weighed down with the cares of daily life and limited by others.
I let other people guide my life a little bit too much, Moyer said firmly. Theres things I could have done that I should have done that I didnt do. I got talked out of everything; that kept me busy working to pay the bills as fast as somebody else was spending the money.
Moyer was married twice and had no children; he now lives in Everett with caretakers.