“Once you stop learning, you start dying,” said Albert Einstein. As I walked into Eddie Lee Moses’s room at Seabury at Springvale Terrace, he shut down his laptop and put away his cell phone for the interview. Mr. Moses just celebrated his 100th birthday and has a history of challenging long-standing stereotypes.
Echoing Albert Einstein, Mr. Moses explains that “everyday I learn something new, it keeps me young” and that at “99 and 11/12” he owns a cell phone for the first time, which he uses to connect with the people he has met over his long life.
Mr. Moses grew up in a segregated small town in rural North Carolina. His father was a sweet potato and tobacco farmer who was born ten years after slavery ended and pushed his son to follow a different path.
During World War II, Mr. Moses enlisted and was assigned to an all black engineers regiment. His commanding officer realized that he could type and was organized and so was given the company clerk position. With the regiment, Mr. Moses was stationed in England, France, and then Germany. The regiment consisted of mostly uneducated black men, many of whom could not sign their name. By the end of the war, through Mr. Moses’ help, every man was able to sign his name so that they were assured of getting their pay.
After the war, Mr. Moses made his way to Washington, DC and soon began his 35-year career at the Veterans Administration (VA) as a clerk typist. Mr. Moses was part of the VA team consolidating and organizing claims from all over the country. He experienced the information technology revolution first-hand. He began working with punch card computing and became experienced with the many evolutions of computing technology that followed. It’s no surprise that Mr. Moses is able to use a laptop today!
During his time at the VA, Mr. Moses was married twice, had three children, and bought his house in DC. After retiring from the VA, Mr. Moses bought his first car so that he could drive to a new job at the Airline Pilots Association, where he worked for nine years. Mr. Moses celebrated his 100th birthday with hundreds of friends and family at his church, Simpson-Hamline United Methodist, where he was treasurer for 20 years.
When asked how to live to 100, Mr. Moses explains that he “never smoked, drank liquor, or chewed tobacco” and had no more than six beers in his life. If that is not clean living, I don’t know what is. Happy Birthday, Mr. Moses!
Learn more about Seabury at Springvale Terrace, the community that will continue to support Mr. Moses as he ages here.