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"Bingo Charlie" Turns 99 Years Old

Charlie Spann, a San Lorenzo resident for more than 60 years, celebrated his 99th birthday on Wednesday.

For most of us, turning 99 would be considered an accomplishment, a milestone, an age we can only wish to reach.

But for longtime San Lorenzo resident Charlie Spann, turning 99 became a reality Wednesday.

"I don't feel any different than if I was turning 66," he joked.

Known by his friends as "Bingo Charlie," Spann has been an avid participant of the , socialize and play bingo each week at the .

The San Lorenzo Sociables was one of several groups that celebrated Spann's 99th birthday this week. However, Spann made sure not to party too hard.

"We're just saving the big celebration for the 100th," he said.

Each of Spann's parties did include plenty of cake, well-wishes, and friends and family members eagerly asking him, "What's your secret?"

"Having an optimistic outlook on life, living each day to the best of my ability, and not worrying about the past or future," Spann said.

His wife Maude quickly added: "And of course, you have to have the right genes." At 94, she isn't too far from catching up to him.

Growing up in Arizona, Spann graduated from high school as one of the top tennis players of his class. He then joined the U.S. Navy, serving on the  USS Texas in 1933 as an electrician.

Being handy was in Spann's blood. He continued to work in construction and maintenance until his official retirement in 1978.

Nowadays, he enjoys taking cruises with his family and spending time with his two children, five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

"From living in the horse-and-buggy days to seeing a man on the moon, those are the kind of events I'm grateful to have lived through," Spann said.

But when asked what was the most amazing thing he has experienced in his 99-year lifetime, Spann reached across the table for Maude's hand.

"The No. 1 thing that's happened to me is meeting her," he said without hesitation. The two will celebrate 72 blissful years of marriage this December.

"Having a happy marriage is the real secret to living this long," Spann said.

Laura Viken August 19, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Congratulations Grandpa, we love you! From one of his 5 grandchildren!
Kathleen Harrigan August 19, 2011 at 05:53 PM
What a lovely article for such a wonderful San Lorenzo resident! The Sociables are such a fantastic group of people and Maude and Charlie, well I cannot say enough about how they are loved by so many in this community who feel like we are part of their family! Happy Birthday Charlie and thank you Analisa for this very touching tribute to Charlie! Kathleen Harrigan
Josh Bauer August 20, 2011 at 06:32 AM
Congrats Mr. Spann. We feel privileged to have met you both at the USS Texas reunion several years ago. Hope to see you again soon. The Bauers

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