CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – A World War II veteran observed a milestone birthday Tuesday in Carmel surrounded by family and decades of photos and mementos – but his party isn’t until Saturday.
“This is exciting!” Charlie Schweitzer said of turning 100. “I don’t do it often.”
The longtime Indiana resident was born in New York, NY on August 8, 1917 and grew up in New Jersey.
Schweitzer lived through the Great Depression, multiple wars and – so far – 18 American presidencies.
His military career took him to Africa, Italy and bases across the United States during World War II. He served as a U.S. Army technical sergeant, operating and fixing phones and radios.
The skills he gained – and his knack for numbers and technology – helped him land “a job and then another job and then a better job” after leaving the Army, he said.
Schweitzer joined RCA as a New Jersey-based radio line packer in 1935 and moved his family to Indianapolis in the 1960s to accept a group leader position within the company. He spent 45 years working for the electronics manufacturer before retiring.
Schweitzer is currently the oldest veteran living at The Barrington retirement community in Carmel and wears his Army uniform every Veteran’s Day, his children said.
“It still fits!” he told 24-Hour News 8. “I haven’t gained much weight… You have to eat right to live well.”
The key to longevity is also keeping both mind and body active, Schweitzer revealed.
He was an avid golfer until well into his 90s and spent most of his free time golfing at the Ulen Country Club, where he was a member for more than 50 years.
“I did a lot of swimming, too,” he said. “I played basketball. But I couldn’t play football. [I’m] too small.”
His stature never limited his academic curiosity and passion for lifelong learning. Schweitzer put himself through night school to earn a college degree while simultaneously working to support his growing family.
He proudly showed off his class ring from the University of Pennsylvania; he graduated from the top-ranked Wharton School with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The red stone on his left hand is worn down from decades of wear and recently had to be reattached to the ring setting by his daughter.
“He never takes it off,” his son said. “He worked hard for it.”
Schweitzer is a father of five, a grandfather of “many” and a great-grandfather of “even more,” friends said.
His children described him as an “exceptional father and provider [who] deserves to be spoiled by family and friends.”
Community members are invited to Schweitzer’s birthday festivities this Saturday, August 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. at The Barrington of Carmel on South Guilford Road.
Schweitzer said he hopes to celebrate his 100th year with at least 100 party guests.