Central Texas UT alumnus, WWII veteran celebrates 105th birthday


(KXAN Photo: Chelsea Moreno)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A University of Texas alumnus and WWII veteran celebrated his 105th birthday on Friday.

Staff at Legacy Oaks South Austin, the senior center where he’s lived for about three years, threw a special party for E.O. Box.

Adelina Nechita, the Activities Director for Legacy Oaks South Austin, shows EO Box a sign made for him. (KXAN Photo: Chelsea Moreno)

“I have never come across anyone who is as happy and a go-getter like he is,” said Adelina Nechita, who is the activities director at the center. “He’s a good dancer too.”

The celebration included a performance by a volunteer for Swan Songs, an organization that provides small, private concerts for people nearing the end of their lives, and of course, cake.

“I don’t feel the difference from 104,” said Box, jokingly. “I never expected to get over 100, let alone 105. I’m so happy.”

EO Box received a special letter from UT President Greg Fenves when he turned 103-years-old. He has it on display in his room. (KXAN Photo: Chelsea Moreno)

He’s a World War II veteran and UT fanatic so naturally, the theme of the party was Texas Longhorns and other residents who are veterans wore their WWII caps. He was a Texas season ticket holder for much of his life and graduated in 1934. The living center’s staff even dressed up in their Texas gear to celebrate his big day. ” We’re here to just emphasize quality of life,” Nechita said. “Matthew McConaughey should have come here, he would’ve loved it!”

WATCH: EO Box’s face lights up as he sings along to “The Eyes of Texas”

“I don’t always remember the words, so I just hold my hand up,” Box said. It was a major theme of conversation. “I like to make fun of the Aggies. You’ve got to enjoy beating the Aggies, anytime, anywhere.”

He was a navy captain during WWII and he also was a research chemist for Phillips Petroleum Company.

EO Box has his picture on display at Legacy Oaks South Austin. (KXAN Photo: Chelsea Moreno)

“I was asking my mom what is the best way to reach 105 and be as healthy as he is and happy and carry that smile he has,” Nechita explained, adding that he’s the first to show up for his exercise class an hour and a half early every day. His name, not so coincidentally, in Greek translates to “early.” “Some of the staff does the exercise class too and they complain, but he doesn’t and he’s 105.”

Box shared some advice on having a long, healthy life, as he’s had, and kept it simple.

I have so much to share, I don’t know what we would have time for. I hope people always have a good time, if somebody’s sick, make sure you go to the doctor right quick. If you don’t feel like yourself, go to bed, take it easy.”

Have great friends, have a good time. All those things go together and then maybe you yourself will live to be 105, maybe older.

EO Box

And he had one last thing to say: “I want to wish a happy new year to the Aggies because we’re going to beat the heck out of ’em next year.”

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