Secret to living to 100 is ‘wine, women and song,’ jokes former Coaldale mayor as town throws parade

Alan Graham looks forward to the little perks of life each day.

For him, he said that’s “getting out of bed, having an afternoon nap, going back to bed at a reasonable hour and having three square meals.”

The former mayor of Coaldale, Alta., is ringing in his 100th birthday on Thursday in good health and high spirits. The town is celebrating the centenarian and his accomplishments in a community parade on Sunday.

Graham’s secret to longevity?

“Wine, women and song — in that order,” he said.

“Is there a better way to live than having good wine, beautiful, pleasant women and then when you have sweet music and song? What more do you want?”

He retired at 85 and has since enjoyed time with his partner, three children, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

“[I feel] actually pretty good. I do have my aches and my pains and as you get older you lose your balance and fall quite a bit. I’ve done that, but I’ve been able to pick myself up each time,” he said.

Graham served three terms as mayor between 1953 and 2001.

During that time, he helped establish crucial services in the town including fire, water and sewage systems. He said obtaining the town’s first fire truck in the 1950s was one of his greatest accomplishments.

“There was a shed behind the town office and we remodeled it so the truck could stand there in the winter with a tank full of water and it would not freeze up. Today, the town … [has] over three times the size of the fire hall.”

Graham has worn many hats over the decades. He spent more than 25 years working in the beekeeping business and spearheading change in the industry. 

His daughter Jeanie Weikle said she’s learned a lot from her father.

“The most amazing thing for me is his ability to have a sense of humour and be with the conversation and add to any part of any thing that people are talking about, current affairs or anything that is going on within the community,” she said.

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