WWII vet Sidney Squirewell celebrates the big 100

Standing from left, Herbert Squirewell, Donald Prioleau, Tom Connor, Henry Dixon, Patsy Palmer, Gerry Squirewell and Sidney Squirewell, seated, celebrated Squirewell’s birthday with 100 cupcakes baked by Palmer. | Darlene Embleton

RIDGEWAY – “Money can’t buy what I have,” Ridgeway’s only Centenarian, Sidney Squirewell, said.  “I have family,” he said, smiling, as he waved his hand to include the family members present at a drop-in at his home in honor of his 100th birthday on Monday.

On Tuesday, longtime Ridgeway friends Henry Dixon, Tom Connor and Donald Prioleau threw a 100-cupcake party for Squirewell that included his son, Herbert, and his wife, Gerry.  Patsy Palmer made the cupcakes that were first served after lunch at the downstairs café at the Thomas Company and sent the rest home with the Squirewells.

“We are celebrating Sidney’s birthday because he has been such a great role model for the citizens of Ridgeway,” Connor said. “We celebrated his 99th birthday last year and we want to keep right on going,” Connor laughed.

Born in the Mt Hope area, Squirewell has lived his entire life in Fairfield County except for the years he served in Saipan and Okinawa during Warld War II.

Following the war, Squirewell went to work in the pulpwood business and later spent 27 years as a carpenter for Coleman Construction. He built by hand the home he and his wife of 70 years, hometown girl Henrietta, still live in.

“The only thing I had to have help with was setting the rafters,” he said, proudly.

Squirewell said most of his and Henrietta’s seven children still live in Fairfield County, along with a bevy of grandchildren and great grandchildren.  A lifetime member of St. Mark Baptist Church, Squirewell served many positions, including Trustee Emeritus.  He is also the oldest Master Mason in Fairfield County, Prioleau said.

As he talked about things he remembers over the last 100 years, Squirewell agreed that living in an era where transportation went from mules and buggies to men in outer space is an amazing 100 years.

When quizzed about any suggestion he might offer for longevity, Squirewell broke into a broad smile.

“Don’t die,” he said. Everyone at the table laughed and nodded.


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