Though he just celebrated his 97th birthday, Ellis Verdin shows zero signs of slowing down.
The veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and World War II Veteran stays busy — not to mention in shape. A regular at the Anytime Fitness gym in Luling, he’s bonded over the years with his fellow early-morning workout enthusiasts, and as Anytime trainer Siana Bennett notes, he’s offered plenty of inspiration along the way.
“He’s not doing light workouts, he’s lifting 20 pound dumbbells,” Bennett said. “It’s not just that he keeps himself in shape, but it’s the intensity too. Everyone knows him and expects to see him. You really have to see him in action because words don’t do it justice.
“People come in the gym and look over at him … it really goes to show, there are no excuses. If he’s 97 and able to do this, why am I not?”
Verdin gets a kick out of it all.
“One of those young fellas who know me saw me picking up 90 pounds from the floor. He asked, ‘Verdin, why are you picking up so much weight? I told him I’m trying to keep up with my age. So I’m 90, and I’m lifting 90.”
Verdin hits the gym two to three times a week. He also doesn’t skimp on household chores — he cuts his own grass regularly, for instance.
“He’s three years from 100!” Bennett said. “He doesn’t look it or act it. People are shocked when they learn his age. It’s very amazing and inspiring.”
He’s not only lived an active lifestyle, he’s also seen and accomplished much throughout his life.
“I’ve worked hard all my life,” Verdin said. “I can’t just sit there watching the TV, I’ve gotta be up and doing something. It works the kinks out.”
Verdin enlisted in the Marines and was part of a team that fought in the Pacific Theater of Operations from November 1943 through February 1944 during World War II.
He moved on to work in the oil drilling industry after his return, and not only found in it a long-term career until his retirement at the age of 73, but also the love of his life. He met his wife Oleta while he was on the job in Texas, and the two made a family together, raising five children.
“We met there in Texas, and then she wouldn’t turn me loose!” Verdin said with a laugh.
“If he’s 97 and able to do this, why am I not?” – Siana Bennett
Three of their sons followed in Verdin’s footsteps and enlisted in the military, representing three different branches: the Army, Navy and Air Force.
He’s simply never been ready to take a load off.
“My doctor told me to keep doing exactly what I’m doing,” he said. “I’ve got no plans to stop.”