A snappy salute to our centennial man

Helping Irving celebrate his 103rd birthday on January 10 were, from the left: Alyce Knight, Louise Bates, Billy Bates, Nancy Graham, Janalyn Travis-Messer, Irving’s niece Barrie Silver, Ted Lapides, Ema Gudiene, Ken Farah and Marika Kaasik.

About 35 friends and well-wishers joined in the birthday festivities for Irving Gruber’s 103rd at the Shorewood home of his niece Barrie Silver on Sunday, January 10.

Barrie is not a blood relative of Irving’s. Irving married her father’s sister, Jenny Silver, and her factual recollections of his life are pretty spotty, she admitted. He was born in Maine she knows and moved to Austria as a child she thinks. He did own both a car rental agency and a service station somewhere in one of Nassau County’s Five Towns. He could fix any car anywhere, she said, and until five or six years ago was able to navigate a mechanic’s skid underneath one.

He did serve in the U.S. Cavalry during World War I, but she doesn’t know his rank. She thinks he came to Shelter Island in the early 1970s.

But she does know this, talking about the secret of Irving’s longevity. He has unbelievable will power; he has always eaten a healthy diet, never went to a doctor and has a lively appreciation of female beauty. His life cries out for a biographer, a local Boswell, before memory fades. In the meantime, a toast to you dear Irving. L’chaim!

(I am indebted to Barrie Silver for generously sharing her time and her recollections of Uncle Irving.)