When you think about what you learned in history class, you don’t often think about the people who lived through that history. But 108-year-old retired U.S. Army Sergeant Eugene Ruf fought in both World War II and the Korean War. So what’s the secret to becoming a literal piece of living history? Women, Heaven Hill vodka, and, he jokes, “good, clean living.”
Ruf celebrated his 108th birthday on April 19 this year in San Antonio, Texas, with his 22 month-old great grand daughter. He sat back in his recliner and told the publication My San Antonio all about when he narrowly missed a bullet in the war, and how his party will feature some vodka or Scotch. He’d come a long way since becoming an orphan in New York at 12 years old in 1921.
Ruf’s secret isn’t so secret — well, at least the alcohol part. There have been a number of centenarians who claim drinks helped them live to the triple digits. Like Ella Macleod and her rosé, Mariano “Pops” Rotelli and his whiskey, Antonio Docampo García and his two bottles of wine, and Mildred Bowers with her beer.
Of course, this advice comes with a big caveat: moderation. That’s the key to alcohol and health — something that plenty of studies show.
As for the chasing women part of living to 108? That’s just jokes Ruf likes to tell. He was happily married with two children. So maybe the true secret is Heaven Hill vodka and a healthy family life.