Gosport's Jack Ruler celebrates 105th birthday after recovering from Covid-19
Last year, ‘unbeatable’ Jack Ruler recovered from Covid at his Gosport care home and was grateful to have not needed hospital care.
And now, on reaching his 105th birthday, Jack’s son Ken says his father is like a cat with nine lives.
Ken, 77, from Gosport laughs and says: ‘He’s had a lot of falls but he always bounces back.
‘He’s never ever sat still. Never. He’s always on the go. That’s why his entire life from adulthood his weight’s been between nine stones and nine stones six. And he’s fastidious about keeping it that way.’
What’s more, the determined centenarian only gave up driving when he was 100, and that’s after much rallying from Ken that it was no longer safe for him to do so.
Ken says: ‘My daughter and I had a real battle and a half to get him to stop because he’s so stubborn.
‘He did sequence dancing [a form of ballroom dancing] with my mum until he was well into his 90s and he belonged to three different clubs.
‘They were there three times a week.’
Jack, born in Liverpool in 1916 during the First World War, is a much-loved resident at Russell Churcher Court care home at Gosport where he moved aged 103.
Prior to that, Jack had still been living at his home in Cowslip Close, Gosport, caring for his late wife Edith who had dementia.
It was when Edith died in 2018 – they had been married for 77 years – that Jack found it increasingly difficult to cope alone and found himself at a loose end.
The avid Liverpool supporter met Edith, a seamstress for Burtons clothing factory, at a roller skating rink in Bolton in 1940. He had moved there three years previously to work as an engineer for a vehicle manufacturing company – Bromilow and Edwards.
The couple married two years later on April 4, 1942, at St Peter’s Church in Farnworth, Lancashire and went on to have their only child, Ken.
And his growing brood now includes three grandchildren, six great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren who all sent him cards as Covid rules mean visitor numbers are still limited.
Ken says they’re ‘gobsmacked’ that their grandad has got this far.
It wasn’t until 1991 that the couple decided to move to Gosport to be closer to Ken as they reached old age.
‘He’s been a great dad to me,’ says Ken.
Jack, who’s happiest memory was playing football for Liverpool boys on Everton’s football ground, would take Ken to watch Bolton Wanderers play when he was a boy as they both closely followed their home team.
And Jack’s zest for life has always been apparent with a get up and go attitude that meant everything had to be done on time.
Jojo Green, Russell Churcher Court’s senior activity coordinator, echoed the thoughts of other staff at the home in that Jack is one of a kind.
‘The residents all love him,’ she says. ‘I say gentleman is the ultimate word to describe him because when he was more mobile he’d hold doors open for people.
‘He would hold the lift too. There’s not many like Jack really.
‘I think he attacks everything with gusto. He’s seen so much in his life. He kicked Covid and he kicked that in to touch and he just keeps coming back.’
Jack marked his milestone birthday on Boxing Day surrounded by about 12 of the home’s staff, and his son and granddaughter.
Despite being a man of very few words due to his old age, Jojo says his eyes ‘twinkled’ on hearing a celebratory shout out for him from Wave 105.
Staff decked out the conservatory in blue with birthday banners, a huge display of balloons and a beautiful birthday cake spelling the numbers 105.
‘The cake the kitchen made was probably the same size as Jack,’ says Jojo.
‘Lots of the residents are surprised at how old he is. It’s quite an achievement.’
According to son Ken it’s being the centre of attraction at the home that he loves most as ‘he’s in his element’.
‘He was over the moon with his balloons and cake. The staff were brilliant.’
Ken says that if his dad could still talk today he would say it’s ‘looking after number one’ that got him this far.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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