Updated: January 27, 2014 at 11:34 am
At 106 years old, Charles "Tom" Hall may move a little slower, but his lightning-fast sense of humor can challenge anyone to keep up.
Family and friends traveled all the way from Kansas to celebrate Hall's birthday Sunday, making him the oldest resident at Bonaventure of Colorado Springs, a retirement and assisted living facility where his caregivers love to talk about his positive attitude and talent for making everyone laugh.
"He is such a pleasant person, I've never met anyone quite like him," said caregiver Candice Johnson. "The first morning I ever met him, he threw the covers off and jumped out of bed like with the energy of a teenager. It's a blessing to know Mr. Tom, someone who has lived for so long and seen so much."
A native of New Albany, Kan., Hall relocated to Colorado Springs in June at the request of his only daughter, 66-year-old Joan Roda, a retired elementary school teacher.
With his daughter, son-in-law, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren (with a fourth one on the way), Hall gets a lot more company and support than he did in Kansas, Roda said.
"He just needed a little more direction and attention, as well as more company," Roda said. "It's amazing to get to have my father for so long. I know most people don't live to 106."
Apparently, Hall's family have a history of living to old age: his sisters died at the ages of 105, 95 and 88, making him the only survivor among his siblings. If he makes it to 107, he'll match the oldest-known member of his family, Roda said.
With more than a century under his belt, Hall still vividly remembers the farm where he grew up.
"I remember my horse, Dynamite, my dog, my parents and the farm," Hall said.
"My father was a farmer and a livestock man, and mom was born on a farm, too."
Hall said high school was fun in the late 1920s. He spent most of it playing baseball, studying and working on the farm with his dad. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1932 with an economics degree and went on to work with Jefferson County as an agricultural agent, where his love for the land kept him busy for 40 years.
"I tried to help farmers have good variety in their crops for successful harvests and seasons," Hall said.
Without showing signs of slowing down, Hall worked with First National Bank in Olathe, Kan., as an agricultural representative, writing loans for farmers for 31 years.
"I worked until I was almost 100 years old," Hall said. "I always liked working and helping people."
Hall and his wife, Hazel, met while they were both attending Kansas State. They were married for 73 years She died almost six years ago of colon cancer at 97, Roda said.
She described her mother as a kind and loving, strict but always supportive. Hall spoke sweetly of his late wife, whom he met during a university-sponsored trip to Washington, D.C.
"I liked everything about Hazel," Hall said. "I liked the way she laughed, I liked how she cooked, I liked dancing with her. One of my favorite things to do was fishing, and although I don't think she liked it as much, she went with me all the time."
While it is exciting to have her father still living at 106, Roda said she doesn't think of when he may pass away very often.
"I don't dwell on it, but I do think about it from time to time. I know how special this is," Roda said.
"We just make the most out of every moment we have with him and show him love every chance we get."