Joseph W. Meka of Lake Hauto is celebrating his 97th birthday today, Christmas Eve.

Nearing the first century mark doesn't hold Meka back, as he continues to bowl at Spare Time Lanes, Hometown, twice a week. His bowling average is 130.

In addition to bowling, he enjoys playing golf at White Birch Golf Course, Barnesville; walking the course instead of riding a cart. In 1979, he scored his first hole-in-one on hole 13, and repeated the feat in 1981 on hole 6. He also enjoys tinkering in the basement.

Born in Summit Hill to Polish immigrants Michael and Catherine Meka, he is the last immediate member of his family.

Beginning his work career at the former Kovaleski Bakery in Summit Hill, he enjoys reminiscing the days when the dough was kneaded by hand instead of machine. He was also employed at the No. 8 Colliery in Coaldale before moving to Linden, N.J., in 1975. While in New Jersey, he was employed by General Motors.

Meka was married to the former Mary Hrisko of Coaldale in 1938. They had three children, Susan, married to Wayne Zehner of Tamaqua; and Joan Helen Boyle and Joseph W. Meka Jr., both deceased. They also have six granddaughters, one grandson, and nine great-grandchildren, one of whom is deceased.

He was one of the original land owners at Lake Hauto, when the residences were used solely as summer homes, and he fondly remembers camping at the lakeside in tents in the 1930s and 1940s.

Meka will celebrate his birthday with his daughter, her family and his friends.