NEGAUNEE - "The first 100 years are the hardest."
That's what Everett Senobe said wryly when asked how he feels about reaching that milestone birthday. The Negaunee native will celebrate his first century of life today with a family party at Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee, where he now resides.
"Yeah, we're going to have cake, cookies and ice cream," Senobe said. "And I am going to get fat."
Everett Senobe, who turns 100 today, sits with his niece, Bonnie Bray, who was visiting him at Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee. Senobe, who grew up in Negaunee, was a real estate agent and assessor for many years. He also was an avid bowler and golfer. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
Everett Senobe bowls at the Petersen Classic in Illinois in 1975. Senobe didn’t start bowling until he was 30, but had a stellar run at the sport, including bowling a 300 game. (Senobe family photo)
All kidding aside, Senobe is in good health and mindful of that.
"I am so lucky to be mobile yet," he said.
Born May 3, 1912 to Axel and Lillian (Young) Senobe, Everett grew up in a house on Snow Street in Negaunee.
"Negaunee is a nice little town," he said. "I moved to Marquette and that wasn't bad but I am happy to be back in Negaunee now. I have friends here in Negaunee."
In fact, he lives across the hall at Eastwood from Mrs. Merle Toms, who was his neighbor on Snow Street back in the day.
Senobe has always liked the sporting life.
"When i was a kid, I'd go fishing in Ishpeming," he said. "I'd walk five miles each way to get there. There was a swinging bridge we'd have to go across. It wasn't safe. But I loved to fish so I'd go across it."
In the winter months of his youth, Senobe enjoyed being outside.
"When I was younger I loved sledding," he said. "We lived by a big hill and off we'd go. It was fun."
After graduating from Negaunee High School, Senobe attended the University of Michigan. When he returned to the Upper Peninsula, he became a real estate agent and assessor.
"I was president of the Upper Peninsula Board of Realtors for two terms," he said. "That covers the whole U.P."
He shared his knowledge with others as well.
"I taught real estate at NMU in the evenings in Escanaba, Iron Mountain and Marquette," Senobe said. "It was a 10-week course. I'd work until 5 p.m. then drive to Escanaba then drive home. When you're young, that's not bad. But I couldn't do that now."
Everett has several photos on display in his room at Eastwood, but one is most special to him, a lovely portrait of his late wife, Philomena Vasseu Senobe, who grew up in Assinins.
"She left the world much too soon," Everett said. Mrs. Senobe passed away in 1989.
Until two years ago, Senobe was an avid participant in two sports, bowling and golf.
"I took up bowling when I was about 30," he said. "I really enjoyed it."
And he succeeded at it, earning a place in the U.P. Bowling Hall of Fame and rolling a 300 game in 1973 at age 61 and an 824 series at age 74.
"I loved to go to tournaments," he said. He especially enjoyed the Petersen Classic, which takes place annually in Illinois and is only slightly older that Ev, as it's in its 102nd year.
Golf was another sport he excelled at but which he started later than most.
"I took up golf when I was about 50," he said. "That's too late but I did all right. I liked golf the best."
Senobe golfed until age 98, rising at 5 a.m. just about "any day it didn't rain" during golf season to hit the links and be done by 9 a.m.
"He had to," quipped his niece, Bonnie Bray. "He would go bowling three days a week so he had to get done with golf early."
At age 77, Senobe shot a 74 at Marquette Golf Club in 1989. Then at age 84, he shot a 77 at MGC.
Can Senobe share the secret for reaching 100?
"Exercise," he said. "Walking is a big thing. Golf is great exercise.
"And luck has a lot to do with it. Plus I have good genes. One grandfather made it to 97 and the other to 94."
While he misses his beloved wife and many of his friends who have passed on, Senobe is grateful for the life he has.
"It's lucky we have a place like (Eastwood) to retire in," he said. "They are really good to me here."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.