MIAMI COUNTY — For many of us, age 100 is a milestone symbolizing a long life of hearty accomplishment. For Miami County resident John H. Teeters, who will celebrate his centennial birthday on Tuesday, March 26, age 100 marks another year to “just keep being nice to people.”
“I’d say that’s my main goal for 2019,” Teeters said. “I want to keep being nice to people.”
Teeters was born in 1919 in rural country near Fort Recovery, Ohio, where he grew up on a farm with his mother, father, brother, and sister.
“At that time, we had horses to do all the work with,” Teeters said. “My father didn’t have a tractor until after the war was over. A horse-drawn bus took me to school until I was in high school.”
Teeters married his high school sweetheart, Margaret Donevee Snyder, in 1942, and they were happily married for 74 years until her death in 2013. Together, they had four children, nine grandchildren, and several great and great-great-grandchildren.
“We brought the oldest daughter home on Pearl Harbor Day,” Teeters said. “Our other three children we had after I came back from the war.”
Following the events of Pearl Harbor, Teeters was drafted into the Army infantry.
“I went to Camp Kroft in Spartanburg, S.C. for basic training, and they kept me as a trainer for the rest of the year,” Teeters said. “From there, I was shipped out to the Philippines for a year.”
Teeters served as a sharp shooter for the 155th infantry of the 31st division in the South Pacific in 1944-45. He was part of the Battle of Mindanao, and was in the Philippines when the war concluded.
Teeters has now resided in the Miami County area for approximately 62 years, having cultivated commercial laundry equipment distributor Teeters Products out of Fletcher.
“My brother and I started this distribution business selling equipment from Frigidaire, Maytag, and Whirlpool,” Teeters said. “We covered Indiana, Kentucky, and part of Pennsylvania — it was a big area. We’re still doing it out of Fletcher.”
“We lived in Fletcher just down the street from the business,” said Jan Wintrow, John’s youngest daughter. “Mom and Dad were always doing things together. They were very traditional. At six-o-clock, everybody sat down to a meal together. The last couple years that Mom was sick, he was the one who took care of her. He gave her all her food, and was a true caregiver.”
Teeters voiced that there’s no particularly secret to making it to age 100, stating simply, “Just keep going.”
“He always said you have to change with the times,” Wintrow said. “He carries an iPhone, he texts, and he has a Facebook.”
On the second Thursday of every month, Teeters enjoys breakfast with other members of “the R.O.M.E.O. Club” (or, Really Old Men Eating Out) at Frisch’s Big Boy in Troy.
“I’ve been coming here for three or four years now,” Teeters said. “I enjoy talking to the fellows to see how they’re doing. Sometimes, we’ll share stories.”
“This club has been meeting for about ten years overall,” said R.O.M.E.O. Club leader Don Wawsczyk. “The goal is just to bring veterans together for fellowship. John’s birthday is quite a feat.”
Teeters now resides in Piqua with his daughter, Jan. He enjoys collecting coins in his spare time.
Teeters and his family will be having an open house at Union Baptist Church in Troy on Friday, March 22 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. All who know John are welcome to come and celebrate his 100th birthday.