Fat birthday: Retiree turns 100 in Mardi Gras style
Friends and family came from all over the United States to attend Philibert's party, which included a professional family photo shoot, New Orleans-style décor and a celebratory parade around the neighborhood.
"When the people started gathering, two of the ladies from New Orleans led a parade with a sign (that said) 'Bill Philibert just became 100,'" Philibert said. "They put a boom box on my scooter, and I followed the two ladies up the street and turned around and went back down the other end of the street… We were kind of dancing on the way, and the crowd followed the whole thing. I had a wonderful time -- my whole life has been a wonderful world."
The party was just the latest in a lifetime full of amazing experiences, according to Philibert, who grew up in Chicago. His father was a prominent pharmacist whose drugstore was just across the street from a hotel where major league baseball players stayed when they were in town for a game. As a result, Philibert was able to meet a number of famous visiting baseball players, including the legendary Babe Ruth. He also said various famous tenors, sopranos and other performers tousled his hair as a child.
In 1936, Philibert took a civil service exam and went to work for the Houston Post Office at the rate of 36 cents per hour. Back then, postage was 3 cents for a letter and 1 cent for a postcard. Philibert worked for the post office for 34 years and seven months before retiring.
Philibert has worked hard to stay active since his retirement. He lives alone, uses the Metro and does his own cooking, laundry and home maintenance. Philibert is also an active member of Houston Elks Lodge 151, which meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights at 10150 W. Airport Blvd. in Stafford. The lodge also serves dinner at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.
"I've gone to the Elks Lodge for 70 years," he said. "I'm the oldest member of the Houston 151 Elks Lodge."
For more information on Houston Elks Lodge 151, call 832-328-1151 or visit www.elks.org/lodges/home.cfm?lodgenumber=151. You can also connect with Houston Elks Lodge 151 on Facebook.
ABOUT Bill Philibert
OCCUPATION: Retired United States Postal Service worker
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Bellaire resident
FAST FACT: Although it's only been about a month since his birthday, Philibert said his family is already hard at work planning his 101st birthday celebration
Megan Mattingly-Arthur is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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