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Utah man celebrates 102nd birthday

OGDEN, Utah — The family and friends of an Ogden man gathered Monday to celebrate his 102nd birthday.

"Every day I learn something new, and that's how you keep young, keep your mind going," Jim Favero told FOX 13.

Favero, born October 8, 1916, served in the military during World War II, and he credits "proper eating, hard work and exercise" for his longevity.

A patient care coordinator for Applegate Homecare & Hospice shared the following bio about Favero:

Jim Favero was born October 8, 1916, the second oldest of thirteen boys and one girl born to Italian immigrant, Giovanni Favero, and Hazel Daley, the daughter of early Utah pioneers. Jim was born in a small home in Roy, Utah, raised in Taylor, Utah, and lived the majority of his adult life in Ogden. Jim married Marguerite Della Maw on November 6, 1940 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple and they had two children, a daughter, Jeanie, and a son, Randy.

Education and Career: Jim began his education in the Taylor school, being taught with three grades in one classroom. He graduated from Weber High School in 1935 and briefly attended Weber College. He was raised on a farm in Taylor, Utah and farmed until finishing high school. He built his career in the shoe business for over 50 years, both in retail and wholesale. He owned and operated four shoe stores. In 1958 he opened Favero Shoes in Ogden, Utah and later Favero Bootery in Roy, The Shoe Store in Blackfoot, Idaho and a leased department in The Blue Door men’s clothier in Ogden. After selling the business in 1969 he traveled for 17 years as a regional representative for the International Shoe Company in the Western United States.

Military Service: After receiving his draft notice on Saturday night, November 30, 1942, Jim reported on Monday, December 2 to Fort Douglas to be sworn in. Because of a performance bond at work, he was allowed one week to get his affairs in order. He left on December 8, 1942 and returned home nearly three years later without one day off during his service. After five weeks of basic training in Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, he was shipped to Camp Polk, Louisiana, then to Maryland. On April 26, 1943 they were loaded on the ship and sailed away, arriving in Oran, Africa on May 14. Jim was part of General Clark’s 5th Army Combat Engineers and was among those in the first amphibious landing in Salerno, Italy on September 7-9, 1943. After 28 months in Italy (26 of those months in combat), as the war was over in Europe, on May 8th, 1945, Jim was sent to Genova, Italy to board the USS General Stuart to be shipped to Manila, then on to Japan. After passing by New York and awaiting entrance to the Panama Canal, the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan and with the war over, Jim was sent home for a recuperation period. He arrive back in Utah on August 28, 1945, one of the one third who survived of the 180 soldiers of his 5th Army, Company C, First Battalion. Jim was discharged in October 1945, having achieved the rank of Staff Sargent.

Outstanding memories: Being raised in a large family and learning the value of hard work, sharing, love and discipline are among Jim’s important memories. “Love was always the center point of our family, both our immediate family and the extended family. Our most important concern was always for the health and wellbeing of each other.” Jim grew up when times were hard, during the Great Depression. He lived on the farm and always had plenty to eat and clothes to wear, but everybody was poor. While attending high school from 1932 to 1935 people were lucky if they had two changes of clothes. Hamburger was 5 cents per pound and bread was 10 cents a loaf. Potatoes were sold for 25 cents per 100 lbs. minus the 10 cent cost of the burlap sack. Dancing was a favorite past time for everyone. Attending a dance cost 15 cents and often there wasn’t that much in the home to pay for the dance. There were five theatres in Ogden and the cost of a movie was 10 to 50 cents and the movies were before the days of talking and long before color.

Even though everyone was poor, they didn’t really know it because everyone was in the same condition, but they always found a way to have a good time. Sports were fun, but considered a waste of time since so much time was spent working on the farm when not in school. Jim walked, rode horses, or drove the sleigh the 2.5 miles each way to get to school every day.

Favorite accomplishments: “I have enjoyed life, being in business, having a happy family, and living to an old age. The most rewarding experience of my life has been raising a family. Courting and marrying Marguerite, having a wonderful family and watching our children and grandchildren grow up to be successful has by far been the most rewarding thing for me.”

Impressive changes: “The declaration of war changed everything. Up until the war life was centered around the family unit. The war advanced the development of technology, the means and mode of transportation, the advancement of communication and the roles of men and women. Having grown up in the days of the horse and buggy, everything we have today is an impressive change.”

Hobbies and activities: Jim enjoys sports of all kinds and for years was an avid bowler and golfer. He grew up working with horses on the farm and continued his enjoyment of a good horse. Dancing was the main activity while growing up. Jim and Marguerite belonged to several dance clubs and would often attend dances three times a week. Jim’s most visible and enjoyable hobby has always been gardening and having a beautiful yard.

Secret to longevity: “Proper eating, hard work and exercise. You are what you put in your mouth. Keep moving and keep your mind working. Think ‘straight’ and stay engaged in something good. Never trouble trouble and trouble won’t trouble you.”

Best advice: “Life is short so fill it with good things and good memories. Choose wisely the things you do. Honor your father and mother and enjoy being disciplined in your life. Respect your elders. Live close to the church and according to the principles you have been taught. Respect all people regardless of race or religion, and be loyal to and obey the laws of your country. Above all, love one another.”

Descendants: Besides his two children, Jim now has nine grandchildren and twenty great grandchildren. His wife, Marguerite, passed away on January 25, 2009. In Jim’s extended family from his mother and father (who lived to be 93 and 100 respectively) there are 791 in the Favero Family, with 772 still living.