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Big celebration marks Mel Munch centennial

Mel Munch was king for a day at The Stafford in Lake Oswego last week.

Because he turned 100 years old Jan. 17, Munch not only received a chocolate birthday cake, music, a photo exhibit and lots of friends on hand to celebrate. There was also the unveiling of a portrait of him. Even by the festive standards of The Stafford it was a big celebration. Munch took it all in stride.

“This is wonderful,” he said. “All I did was float along.”

by: VERN UYETAKE - The unveiling of a portrait of Mel Munch was the highlight of his 100th birthday party at The Stafford last week.

You’ve got to be lucky to make 100 years, but Munch has made a lot of his own luck since his arrival into the world on Jan. 17, 1913, in Portland. He keeps a schedule that a much younger person would envy. Munch makes cookies, cakes and bread for his many friends, he goes to an exercise class every day, and every Sunday he exercises his lungs by singing in the choir at Our Lady of the Lake Parish.

Munch gets around. His first car was a Ford Model T, but today he drives a Volkswagen diesel stick shift.

As a boy, Munch’s favorite movie star was Pearl White, who starred in exciting serials that he would attend every Saturday. As a young man he served as an engineer in France and Germany during World War II. In his post-war life he worked for a cement company in Lake Oswego, rising to the position of plant manager. Along with his beloved late wife, Lolita, he raised a family of five children. He has 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Jimmy Stewart has nothing on Mel Munch. He’s had a wonderful life. As for the secrets of his longevity, he has only a few.

“I don’t drink a lot, only in moderation. The rest of it is good luck. I guess I can blame my ancestors, too,” Munch said.

Munch is so well liked that one big celebration was not enough. On Sunday he was given another birthday party at Our Lady of the Lake.




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