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Fit as a fiddle at age 94

LO's Patrick Young is judged healthiest 90-year-old in area
by: cliff newell 
SUBMITTED PHOTO

Patrick Young puts on his walking shoes for another workout. At age 94 he still covers amazing distances.

Fitness is what keeps Patrick Young young. Even at age 94.

In fact, it is now official that the Lake Oswego resident is the healthiest 90 year old in the Portland area according to the Portland Clinic, which recently bestowed that title upon him.

Of course, Young was not seeking any kind of recognition. He just likes feeling good.

'Exercise keeps you going,' Young said. 'It's an important part of life. You don't want to sit around watching TV all day. You just lose your life.'

To encounter Young for the first time you might not guess he is the gold standard for nine-decade fitness. His refined British accent certainly does impress because it denotes class, culture and intelligence; especially in his Lake Oswego home, which is a lovely setting to celebrate Christmas. He could be a good guy in a Charles Dickens novel.

But the truth is that Young's level of health astonished the contest judges for the Portland Clinic.

'We're blown away by the level of athleticism and enthusiasm for life in the 90-year-old Portland community,' said Mike Schwab, chief executive officer for the Portland Clinic.

There were over 40 entrants for the contest, and the final four were truly fit and fabulous. One of them was Ralph Davis, a former head football coach at Portland State University, who now, at age 91, plays racquetball every day. 'I thought Ralph would win,' Young admitted.

However, it was Young who was declared the healthiest of the healthy and awarded the grand prize. That is why he and his wife Sadie will be going on a cruise to Alaska next summer. To the fittest go the spoils.

Gardening is Young's greatest passion (as it is for many an Englishman), and he has also been active in rowing, ping-pong, pool volleyball, and he is simply a tireless walker. He walked in the Portland to Coast Relay from 2001 through 2005. In 2006 he walked the 6.2 mile Great Columbia Crossing in 95 minutes and did it a year later in 100 minutes. In 2010 he was the oldest participant in the five-mile West Linn Wild.

Young was built to last, even though he has gone through some incredible trials in his long life. In 1941, while serving in the Royal Navy, he was taken prisoner by the Japanese Army after the fall of Hong Kong in World War II. He then spent three years and nine months in a prisoner of war camp.

The winds of war blew against Young again in 1949 when the Community Chinese under Mao Zedong conquered China and took over Shanghai, where Young was working for a shipping company. He was prevented from returning home for nearly a year.

His life calmed down after he and Sadie moved to the USA in 1953. They have lived in Lake Oswego since 1976, where their house is often filled by their children and grandchildren.

But the excitement level picked up on the day when a limousine was sent to pick up Young to take him to Portland, where he was interviewed by Drew Carney on KGW and shared his fitness philosophy with the greater Portland public.

'I've got to get around,' Young said. 'I've got to move! I've got to get on my feet.'

Whatever age, Young is a remarkable man, because he keeps moving on.