‘Like the Energizer bunny’: Florida man turns 100, still remains active

VERO BEACH, Fla. — A Florida man celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday, starting his day like he usually does -- with a 15-minute ride on his adult tricycle.

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Floyd York lives in the gated community of Cache Cay in Vero Beach, enjoying a life of leisure since he retired from the banking business three decades ago, TCPalm.com reported.

York is accompanied by his caretaker when he rides his tricycle at sunrise, according to the news outlet. Then he plays Chinese checkers or Rummikub. His active life amazes family members and friends, although he has had to have around-the-clock caretakers since he fell in his kitchen three years ago.

“He’s like the Energizer bunny,” York’s eldest son, Todd York, 70, told TCPalm.com.

York has always kept going, with a career in banking that began as a messenger boy and continued upward until he became president of a savings bank that expanded to four other branches.

Floyd Niles York was born in the upstate New York town of Day on Jan. 16, 1923, according to online birth records. He grew up on a farm located 50 miles north-northwest of Albany, the third son of Oscar York and Flavia LaFontain.

He attended a one-room schoolhouse with his siblings, TCPalm.com reported.

“In a one-room schoolhouse, you can listen to all the kids as they had their lessons and you could learn a lot ahead of time,” York told the news outlet.

As a 19-year-old in June 1942, York registered for the draft in Corinth, New York, and listed his residence as Hadley. He worked at the International Paper Company, but then joined the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York (on Long Island), according to online military records. He was a member of crews that delivered shipments of materials to troops fighting in Europe during World War II, TCPalm reported.

“It was an interesting experience -- as long as you did not get torpedoed,” York told the news outlet. “We sailed in large convoys as far as you can see with ships in every direction.”

While with the Merchant Marines as a midshipman, York met Carol David of Garden City, New York, The Post-Star of Glens Falls reported. The Garden City High School graduate was working for Sperry Gyroscope Corporation, according to the newspaper.

According to online genealogy research, Carol’s eighth-great grandfather through her mother’s ancestral line was John Alden, a crew member on the Mayflower in 1620. She would later become a member of the Mayflower Society, the Alden Kindred Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution, The Post-Star reported.

On April 29, 1945, York proposed marriage -- by cablegram.

“Will you marry me. Start on arrangements. Decide where to spend honeymoon. Love Floyd York,” stated the wire from Western Union, sent by York from Europe.

Not the most romantic message, but it worked. The couple was married on May 26, 1945, at the United Presbyterian Church in Garden City.

They would raise three sons, according to New York birth records: Todd, born in 1952; Kyle, in 1954; and Scott, in 1957.

“When each of his three sons were born, he took care of them for the first week so that mom could recuperate,” Cindy Johnson, one of York’s caretakers, told TCPalm.

York and his wife were married for 59 years until Carol’s death on Feb. 10, 2004, in Vero Beach, according to her obituary.

After World War II ended, York took a job in 1946 as a messenger at Union Square Savings Bank in New York. He later became an auditor for the Roslyn Savings Bank, the website reported. After eight years, he worked his way up to auditor and then bank president. He grew one branch into five in Long Island between 1961 and 1976, according to an advertising supplement paid for by the bank for the May 9, 1976, edition of Newsday. In addition to the main office in Roslyn, there were satellite branches in West Hempstead, Farmingdale, Bellmore and Woodbury.

The bank had more than $1.27 billion in assets when York retired in 1992, TCPalm.com reported.

Even though he worked at a bank, York was not a fan of credit cards, which gained national popularity with the introduction of the Diners Club card in 1950. He said that easy credit allowed people to spend beyond their means.

“It is much easier to live knowing that you do not have someone who can come and take your possessions away because you did not make a payment,” York told TCPalm.com. “Work and don’t get into debt. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. That was our motto.”

He never smoked or drank to excess, but York said he had no secret to his longevity. Certainly, his daily ride on the tricycle helps.

“I’m very grateful that I’ve had a fairly healthy life,” York told TCPalm.com. “I don’t consider myself lucky.

“My guardian angels have kept an eye on me because I’ve had at least 14 occasions when I should have been dead.”

Information from online newspaper archive databases was used in compiling this report.

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