The Elma Town Board last week honored longtime resident Harry Gach, who will celebrate his 100th birthday Wednesday.
Gach, of Bullis Road, was the guest of honor at a luncheon with other senior citizens. He moved to the United States from Austria at the end of World War I, eventually making his way to Elma. His family bought a shack there, where they lived for one year until building a new home.
The family later purchased an additional 27 acres, which eventually became the Gach farm at Chairfactory and Girdle roads.
Gach was drafted into the Army during World War II, despite a childhood accident that left him with vision in only one eye. He was injured in the Battle of the Bulge and sent to England to recover.
After the war, he returned home to help his brother on the farm but soon found he needed more work to make ends meet.
After working several jobs, Gach joined the U.S. Postal Service.
Violet, his first wife of eight years, died of a heart ailment. His second wife, Mabel, whom he met on his mail route, died in 2002.
As a youngster, Gach always wanted a bicycle, but his family couldn’t afford one. At age 75, he finally bought one and taught himself to ride. The same year, he took up golf – a sport he abandoned because of an injury at age 97.
Gach still drives a car. He is a member of Elma’s Faith Lutheran Church.