SIDNEY, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Les Gregory says, “people die, love never dies, ever.”
Born in Walton on a chicken farm, Les Gregory turns 100 years old on April 2nd.
Les Gregory says, “You can tell how old somebody is by how straight they hold their fingers. Do you notice that this is almost a half a globe? So, you can tell I’m pretty old.”
Despite reaching triple digits, Gregory is as sharp as ever, and he attributes that to the people that he surrounds himself with.
Les Gregory says, “I have a host of friends, I am proud of my friends, and I have met some wonderful people.”
One of those people he says was Orville Wright, who along with his brother, opened the doors to the Aviation Age.
Gregory says he got to spend a day with Wright back when he was in the U.S. Army Air Corp. before the Air Force was even established in 1947.
Les Gregory says, “I spent a lot of time at the airport watching the airplanes come-in and go. And I love to fly, I spent most of my life doing it.”
Gregory started active duty in 1941. He flew B-24 bombers in World War 2.
He was a pilot for 30 years and served in Africa, Italy, Vietnam, and Malta.
One of his most vivid life memories stems from when he was flying over Iceland.
Les Gregory says, “In fog, so, so dense, that it was like being inside one of these big white clouds.”
He says that he would often fly for about 12 hours and then the relief crew took over.
Les Gregory says, “we would actually strike each other in the head, in the face, to keep us awake.”
Gregory says that piloting cost him his hearing, in a time before ear protection.
I asked Gregory, how he has maintained a healthy and happy life, despite the change and chaos he has lived through.
Les Gregory says, “we are here to help each other. If you spend your life, helping others, life is going to be sweet.”
He has two daughters, a stepdaughter, a stepson, plus ten grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.
Gregory says don’t take life for granted.
Les Gregory says, “what seems like hardship, in later years, looking back, will be happy times spent with friends.”
He says find something you love in this world and never let it go, that’s what really matters.
Happy Birthday Les!