Centenarian Has 100 Reasons To Celebrate
They say age is nothing but a number, and for Reino “Ray” Paananen, that number happens to be 100. Paananen celebrated life as a centenarian with friends and family on Saturday at his home, Rose Haven Assisted Living.
“I don’t notice any difference with 100 or 99,” said Reino “Ray” Paananen, centenarian.
About 80 people mixed and mingled for this milestone. Paananen served four years in World War II and remembers that experience like it was yesterday.
“I think Kenya was the last country I walked around with a helmet and a rifle,” said Paananen.
Halfway through the party the man of the hour received recognition from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6206. Paananen was now an honorary member of the Color Guard.
“I suppose I’d be real proud,” said Paananen.
“I had tears in my eyes and it just reminded me of how lucky we are that men like him fight for the freedom that we still embrace,” said Hazel Ivy, Paananen’s niece.
“We golf in the morning and went for another nine holes in the afternoon,” said Paananen.
Paananen says growing up the ladies didn’t hate him but that all changed when he married the love of his life at 27 years old. The couple has been married for 68 years and although they never had children there’s plenty of family members.
Gloria Sabin and Hazel Ivy are Ray’s nieces and look at their uncle as special and admire his humor. Some of their favorite memories with Uncle Ray include working at the Dairy Queen he owned and going to the Minnesota State Fair.
“Still enjoys reading the paper and watching the [Minnesota] Twins, so I’m very blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life,” said Gloria Sabin, Paananen’s niece.
Paananen says his secret to making it to 100 years old is luck.