Mt. Pleasant center honors oldest member
Nile Ripple, of Mt. Pleasant, claims that the Nile River was named for him -- a bit of an exaggeration.
But Ripple has been around for 95 years now, giving him the distinction of being the oldest active member of the Mt. Pleasant Senior Center.
"I come here every day-- usually for lunch -- and I really enjoy the socializing," says Ripple.
Ripple was born in Windber and moved to the Rockwood area, where he met and married the former Mae Miller, a native of the town. The couple was married for 65 years before Ripple. Mae died several years ago.
The couple raised a son and a daughter. Ripple also has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Ripple worked at a series of jobs. He was co-owner of a local timber business. He worked as a material inspector. He also held a job with the Exxon Company.
One of his main loves in life is working with wood.
"My father was a carpenter and a contractor and I have always liked to work with wood."
Over the years, he has constructed stools, racks, benches, and lamp holders. He has also made special clocks for all of his grandchildren.
For health reasons, Ripple no longer puts in the hours that he used to working at his hobby.
Ripple also is a big sports fan, and even played a bit in his day.
"I used to play football in high school. Back then, we were lucky enough to get together enough players for a scrimmage. I also played basketball."
Although he no longer plays physical sports, his favorite sport now is pool.
"I come here a lot to play pool. I play on a pretty regular basis. There is a group of us that gets together."
Ripple is loved at the senior center. Irene Zubach, center director, says Ripple is usually there every day.
Zubach said center members worry when he doesn't show up.
"We call him to check on him. He's really a sweet man. It's a pleasure to know him," said Zubach.
Ripple has some advice for anyone getting older.
"I think that you should get out in the open as much as possible. Always keep your sense of humor."
Ripple celebrated his 95 birthday Jan. 16 with some family members. Since his birthday fell on Martin Luther King Day, the senior center was closed. But the center didn't forget him. They had a special birthday celebration later in the week.