Columbus native Gene Settle has more than a 100 reasons to celebrate his birthday today, the big number 100.
About 125 people stopped in Sunday to mark the occasion a few days early during an open house at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, where Settle has been a longtime member.
St. Peter’s pastor Mark Teike mentioned Settle’s birthday during Sunday services and offered a prayer and blessing for him, which was followed by a round of applause.
The celebration continues today at Green Tree Senior Living, 4895 Pine Ridge Drive, where Settle resides. The facility is sponsoring a 2 p.m. party with cake and refreshments that is open to residents and Settle’s friends in the community.
“We love him,” said Kim Harper, resident services coordinator for Green Tree Senior Living, who is helping organize today’s celebration. “He’s just so wonderful. Always a gentleman, always so kind.”
Settle was born in Columbus on Sept. 27, 1917. He graduated from Columbus High School, where he was junior and senior class president, while lettering in basketball, football and track.
Settle retired from Cummins in 1979 after more than 40 years of service, his family said. He was married to the late Dorothy Sparks, whom he described as his “Seymour sweetheart.”
The couple had three children, Sarah Zeigler, Little River, South Carolina, who has been visiting in Columbus this week for the birthday celebration, and the late Susan Nolting and the late Daniel Settle.
Settle received hundreds of cards at Sunday’s open house and has particularly enjoyed the visits from friends and Cummins employees to talk about their times together over the years, his daughter said.
Zeigler described her father as a big Indianapolis Colts fan, and a big Indiana University fan, following the Hoosiers throughout his life.
Harper said in addition to enjoying Bingo and watching the Colts and IU on television, Settle also enjoys sitting outdoors in the sun wearing his IU hat.
The family didn’t put 100 candles on his cake, opting instead for a “100” candle, but each of the visitors stopped for a moment to chat and reminisce with the honoree, said Settle’s daughter, Sarah.
“He had a wonderful time,” she said.
If you would like to send a card wishing Gene Settle a happy 100th birthday, send it to Gene Settle, Green Tree Senior Living, 4895 Pine Ridge Drive, Columbus, IN 47201.
Green Tree Senior Living has had several residents who have reached the 100th birthday mark, including three residents who turned 100 last year.
This year, one resident has a 101st birthday scheduled in October, said Kim Harper, resident services coordinator.