Foley, ALA – Bill Wall, a homeowner at Live Oak Village recently celebrated his 95th birthday. With the social distancing restrictions surrounding COVID-19, Mr. Wall was honored by a drive-by tribute from the Foley Fire Department, Foley Police Department, and parade of vehicles full of family and friends complete with honks, waves, signs, balloons, and cards.
Mr. Wall was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1925. After high school, Mr. Wall had various jobs until he joined the Air Force and studied to be a pilot. His nickname during basic training was “Awol” and Mr. Wall remembers his Sergeant was not very happy with him until he explained he had never actually been AWOL!
After passing many different types of training and going to college for six months to qualify as an officer for the pilot program, WWII had ended, and many bases shut down their pilot programs. Mr. Wall was discharged from the Air Force and used his GI Bill to finish his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Tennessee. Mr. Wall was an Electrical Engineer during most of his career and worked for NASA in Huntsville, Alabama, for 22 years. Mr. Wall was married in 1947 for 49 years until his wife’s passing. Together, they had two children. In 1997, after meeting at church, Mr. Wall married Jeannette Bartee. Together, they live at Live Oak Village.
Questions with Mr. Bill Wall on Celebrating 95
- What’s the secret to your longevity?
BW: I give all credit to the Lord to keep me safe and on the right track during my life. I believe my faith in God has helped me solve the problems in my work and life.
- What does friendship mean to you?
BW: It means everything. I have enjoyed making many friends over my lifetime and wish I could see them more often even though we try to stay in touch.
- What is your typical day like?
BW: I enjoy keeping up with the news and current events on TV and the computer. My wife and I also enjoy spending time with friends, neighbors, and family. We like driving our golf cart to social events at the Clubhouse and around the neighborhood. We love to be outdoors and spend a lot of time on our patio and front porch. Friends and neighbors frequently stop by for “Happy Hour.” We are still active working in the yard and enjoy going to Church.
- What is your best advice for a young person?
BW: Get lots of exercise, eat properly, keep your mind and body active. I do crossword puzzles every day, play bridge, and have conversations with everyone. I have been in good health most of my life.
- What do you do to stay young?
BW: I believe my good genes have helped me stay young. My father lived to be nearly 98 [years old]. I feel very blessed that the Lord is watching out for me. I seldom drank liquor and I watch my diet, although I do love sweets!
- What do you do when you are worried or stressed?
BW: I rely on my faith to guide me through.
- How are your technology skills (email, text, social media)?
BW: Good. I use the computer every day, communicating or doing research on AOL, and I enjoy messaging and emailing friends and family. I use Facebook, too!
- What was the best decade for you?
BW: 1970-1980. I loved my work at NASA; it was always interesting and challenging. I worked on many different projects and enjoyed the variety of challenges of designing, repairing, and troubleshooting. l also liked the interaction working with other people and being a manager.
- What has been your favorite experience?
BW: While in the Air Force, I trained for 4-5 weeks in April, and May one year at a rest camp in the Grand Canyon. While there I got to do a lot of hiking and exploring. I hiked from the top of the rim to the bottom. I enjoyed the trip down much better than the steep trip back to the top along the switchbacks. I was amazed by the different rock formations, terrain and vegetation at each altitude; the rim had snow and the bottom of the valley was in the ’90s.
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
BW: While at NASA, during the busy Space Program era, my staff and I literally saved the Manufacturing in Space Electron Beam Welding Experiment flown on Spacelab1. Among many other rocket-related manufacturing projects, I was the lead engineer in an effort to develop automatic seam tracking for the weldment of rocket tanks. As a result, I was the lead engineer for this venture via the use of analog and digital closed-circuit television. Patents were obtained using this means. Even though I never became a pilot, I made many contributions to the space program technology.
- What’s the best thing about living at Live Oak Village?
BW: Being closer to family, friends, and the people who live nearby. Everything is convenient: stores, restaurants, and medical facilities.
- What would you like to say to those who wished you a happy birthday?
BW: When I heard the sirens and horns honking, I thought there was trouble in the neighborhood, so I came outside to see what was going on. I felt so happy and excited to see everyone and it was one of the best birthdays in my life. I thank everyone for coming to celebrate with me, you really made my day!
Live Oak Village in Foley, AL is owned by Community Senior Life and offers homeownership, independent living, assisted living, and respite care. For more information for you or a loved one, call 251-943-6733 or visit communityseniorlife.org.
ABOUT COMMUNITY SENIOR LIFE
Community Senior Life is owned and operated by Community Health Systems located in Orange Beach, AL. CSL is a family of not-for-profit healthcare-related organizations specializing in senior independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities throughout Alabama and Florida. Dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for an ever-growing senior population, each organization within the CSL family is committed to meeting the social, spiritual, physical, and financial needs of its residents through innovative services in safe and caring environments. For more information, visit communityseniorlife.org.