Gabe Peter Ferrence, a resident at Heritage Hill Senior Community in Weatherly, is celebrating his 97th birthday today, Dec. 20.

Born on a farm in White Bear Summit Hill in 1915, Gabe graduated Nesquehoning High School in 1934.

He married his lovely wife, Rose, in 1938 and was married for 22 years until her passing in January of 1960.

He has three children, Ronald of Lansford; Jean Staloski of Lake Hauto; and Thomas of Nesquehoning. He also has four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Gabe is the last surviving member of 10 children.

Gabe worked in the strippings until he was 76 years old. He excavated anthracite coal and was known to be the best dragline type operator engineer there was in those days. He was actively involved in the United Mine Workers of America.

Fall is his favorite time of year because he was an avid deer hunter.

His passion is being a rock artist and he is still actively painting rocks today to add to his collection. He loves to sing and play the harmonica.