BRASHER FALLS — A martini a day.
That’s all it takes to reach 100 years old, according to Donald Locke, who was born in Brasher Falls on July 10, 1919.
And, he adds, “I had a very nice wife and four great kids and a nice companion.”
His wife, Jane, who he married on July 7, 1941, passed away in 2006. His children are Barbara, Susan, Donna and Murray.
He said he has spent his life in the Brasher Falls community.
“Right from infancy,” he said.
Mr. Locke, who now resides at LBSH Housing, recalls the early days of growing up in Brasher Falls.
“That was during the Depression. It was rough,” he said.
However, he added, “My father was a good provider.”
He remembers a job he had early on in life.
“I delivered milk. Put a quart of milk on the doorstep for 8 cents,” Mr. Locke said.
Sports were part of his life as he grew up.
“I was a so-called athlete. I was very good. I thought I was. When I went away to college, I wasn’t that good,” he said.
Baseball was his sport of choice, playing for a semi-professional team in Brasher Falls. One wall of his apartment contains memorabilia related to his favorite major league baseball team, the Boston Red Sox.
“I played ball for years and years and years,” he said as he looked at a 1938 team photo and remembered players from the past.
“Very few people in Brasher even knew the team existed. We were so good we joined a high class league,” playing bigger teams from areas like Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, Malone, Potsdam and Gouverneur, he said.
Even when his playing days were done, Mr. Locke enjoyed another aspect of baseball.
“I umpired for 42 years after I got done playing baseball, which I enjoyed as much as playing,” he said.
Square dancing in the barn was also a favorite pastime.
“My dad built a new barn. We had barn dances, square dances. We filled that barn right up,” Mr. Locke said.
He graduated in 1938 from the former Brasher-Stockholm High School, and then attended Ithaca College before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II, spending his time aboard amphibious ships. He spent two years in the Navy.
The Brasher Falls of the past that Mr. Locke remembers included a lot of industry, including a foundry, grist mill and power plant.
“Very little is left,” he said.
But, while the Brasher Falls of today may be vastly different, it’s still his home as he celebrates his 100th birthday. A party is scheduled for Saturday at the Winthrop American Legion, with about 250 people expected to make an appearance to wish him great tidings as he starts the journey to 101 years.