Jack Coles, a Second World War veteran with the Royal Canadian Air Force, turns 100 on Nov. 16. (Michael Briones photo)

Jack Coles, a Second World War veteran with the Royal Canadian Air Force, turns 100 on Nov. 16. (Michael Briones photo)

Still up to par at 100: Jack Coles celebrates a century of active living

Qualicum Beach veteran keeps the body moving in the gym and on the golf course

Turning 100? That’s just another day for Qualicum Beach’s Jack Coles.

The Second World War Royal Canadian Air Force veteran hit the century mark on Nov. 16 with regular rounds of golf and gym workouts still part of his weekly routing

“I haven’t paid much attention to it really,” said Coles. “I don’t feel much different. I am a little slower, I guess.”

You would never guess Coles, a resident at The Gardens, is 100 based on his appearance and activities. He is very independent and loves to play golf, walk and go to the gym in Qualicum Beach three times week. He gets around without the aid of a cane or a walker.

Among the things that he does that garner admiration from staff at The Gardens is his ability to go up and down the stairs. His residence is located on the second floor and he avoids the elevator.

READ MORE: Greater Victoria has longer life expectancy than national average

READ MORE: Chemainus woman sets a new standard for 106-year-olds

Coles says, that’s what keeps him feeling young.

“Being active is the main thing,” said Coles. “If you are sitting on your ass all the time, that’s no good. That’s when I get mad at myself if I have been lax and sitting around doing nothing when I should be doing something. I find that keeping busy, climbing those stairs, walking, that’s very good.”

Healthy living may be the major contributing factor behind his long life, but also having a good lineage could also be the reason. His mother lived to 101 and her aunt lived until she was 105.

Friends who play golf with Coles, like Peter Hall, a longtime golfing buddy and a former neighbour, says he still plays a good round.

“He always walked and always pulled his golf cart. He never rode,” said Hall, who plays with Coles at Brigadoon Golf Course.

The last time they played, Hall recalled Coles starting the game off the first tee where his shot landed just two feet from the pin.

“He got his birdie,” said Hall. “On the fourth hole, a short par-4, he got a par. Jack loved the game of golf and I had the pleasure of being one of his golf partners for 30 years.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Coles had to stop playing golf and also going to the gym. They are activities he says he misses.

Coles also wasn’t able to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies on N0v. 11, something he never misses. He is always in the parade and was disappointed not to be able to do it this year.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 76 had planned to honour Coles for his military service. During the war he was a member of the Canadian 419 Lancaster Squadron and had flown close to 50 missions. But due to COVID-19, a short ceremony was held instead on Nov. 10 at The Gardens.

A birthday celebration was planned for Coles on Nov. 16.

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Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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