Gloucester resident celebrates 105th birthday

Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Jan 05, 2011 - 04:55 PM

A Gloucester man reached a milestone on Monday. Ray Hooker, a resident of Sanders Assisted and Independent Living in Gloucester Court House, celebrated his 105th birthday among family and friends.

Hooker, a long-time resident of Hampton and aeronautical engineer with NASA, said he owes his good health to longevity that runs in his family. Both of his parents lived to be 93.

He also said he received a post card in the mail a while back that read, "Big secret—keep breathing!"

His 105 years have been anything but boring. Hooker flew an ultralight plane up until about five years ago, he said, and was a sailboat racer for many years. His job carried him to countless countries across the world.

Hooker grew up in Indiana and is a 1929 graduate of Purdue University. He was appointed to the U.S. Navy shortly after he graduated and then took an appointment at NASA in 1930 as a Junior Aeronautical Engineer.

"Me and a couple of the guys I worked with got together one day and thought, ‘A bunch of flight engineers and not a one of us can fly an airplane. And we’re supposed to figure out how to do it better.’"