Oliver Solt recently became a centenarian.
The Bowmanstown native and current resident of Mahoning Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday with a party hosted by his family at the Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, a club he helped build over a half century ago.
He was born on Aug. 24, 1913 in Stemlersville, Pa., to Charles and Mary (Behler) Solt. He was one of 12 children.
Oliver married Bertha Heydt on New Year's Day in 1936. They were married 59 years until her passing in 1995.
He has eight children, Kerry and Colin, both of Bowmanstown, Todd of Palmerton, and Sylvia of Lehighton; as well as Roger, Gary, Sherry and Richard, who are deceased. He also has 18 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.
Oliver has strong roots in the Bowmanstown/Palmerton area.
He was employed at the New Jersey Zinc Company for 48 years, before retiring in 1975. He also served on the Bowmanstown Police force for 38 years, 25 of those as police chief.
He also co-founded the First Frontier Militia, which he explained, is a shooting club for percussion guns; and helped build the Bowmanstown Volunteer Fire Company and Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club. He is a member of Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Bowmanstown.
Oliver also enjoys the outdoors, and said that he liked to hunt mule deer and antelope in Wyoming; as well as fishing various lakes or the deep sea.
He also was an avid winemaker back in the day, his children said, noting that he made wine out of pretty much any fruit he could find.
Oliver added that he also liked to make hard cider.
He currently enjoys playing double pinochle; being outdoors and checking to see what is flowering on the grounds of Mahoning Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
He credits his ambition to be active as his secret to longevity.
"Not being lazy, taking walks, hunting, fishing, studying nature and picking wild huckleberries in the Poconos," Oliver said was key to a long life.
Most recently, Oliver was honored by the borough of Bowmanstown, during its 100th anniversary celebration.
During the event, he was recognized with citations from the Carbon County Commissioners and House of Representatives; as well as the borough, who named the town's new recreational pavilion after him.