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Central Alum and World War II Veteran Celebrates 104th Birthday

Fred Gomez is not the kind of guy who spends time sitting around the house, despite turning 104 years old on September 9th, 2019. Twice a week, he takes transportation from his son’s home in Maple Glen, Montgomery County to the Central Bucks Senior Center in Doylestown, Bucks County where he shoots pool in the billiard room they named after him two years ago. When he’s not shooting pool, he’s in the pool, swimming regularly at the Ambler Area YMCA.

It was at the Senior Center on September 4th where family and friends gathered to celebrate his longevity and spirit. What keeps him going? “I don’t worry about tomorrow or the next half hour,” said Gomez, who graduated from Central High School in June, 1936, a member of the 166th Class. “I can’t sit still, I have to always be doing something,” he added.

Gomez was born in New York City in 1915. His family moved to W. Berlin, New Jersey where he attended a one- room schoolhouse. They moved to Philadelphia where he attended Central.  “I loved Central,” said Gomez, who even as recently as seven years ago ran into another member of the 166th Class.  After graduating from Central, Gomez spent time in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a voluntary public work relief program where he helped build the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas. 

At the start of World War II, he worked at the Philadelphia Navy Ship Yard. He was a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve and volunteered for active duty. He served on the destroyer USS Carroll throughout the war and was a Seaman 1st Class. The USS Carroll’s home port was Pearl Harbor and Gomez served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

During his birthday celebration, Gomez was given a citation by the Associated Alumni of Central High School, a proclamation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for his life accomplishments, a birthday card from U.S. Senator Pat Toomey and commemorative challenge coins from the Warriors’ Watch Riders.

“I don’t believe there’s a secret to living a long life,” said Gomez, who added “take life as it is and I think you’ll be better off.”

Join others on social media (Instagram: centralalumni) in wishing Fred a happy birthday!