LONG NECK — Perhaps other than his strong faith, Herb Faulls has no real secret to his century-plus longevity.
“I don’t know. I never drank. I don’t even drink beer,” said Mr. Faulls. “I started to smoke when I went in the Navy. But not for very long.”
Herbert Thomas Faulls turns 101 this week. He was born May 26, 1920, in Philadelphia.
The longtime Long Neck resident has lived alone in his Pot-Nets Creekside residence since the March 2019 passing of his wife, Ellen Faulls, to whom he was married 74 years.
He has no major birthday celebration plans Wednesday. There won’t be a big family gathering, as there are no living relatives on either his or his wife’s sides.
“I’m the last of my generation. My wife, she was the last of her generation,” said Mr. Faulls, adding that Ellen is buried in the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro. “She was 97 when she died. She was an angel.”
Mr. Faulls’ 101st birthday will include dining out, courtesy of a member of his church, East Gate Presbyterian in Millsboro.
“A friend in church, he says he’s taking me out to dinner,” said Mr. Faulls. But the location remained to be seen.
“He didn’t tell me,” he said. “I think it will be nice.”
Last year, during COVID-19, Mr. Faulls’ milestone 100th birthday was marked by East Gate members organizing a drive-by horn-honking celebration.
“You couldn’t have church, so they wanted to let me know. They got together and drove by,” said Mr. Faulls.
While neighbors and churchgoers do keep a watchful eye out for the eldest of their community’s elders, Mr. Faulls remains basically self-supporting and independent.
He still drives with a valid driver’s license, mostly on errands and shopping excursions.
“No big trips. It’s just casual driving now,” he said.
Around the house, he cooks, does the dishes, sweeps and cleans. He also does his own yardwork.
“I take care of everything,” he boasts, with a chuckle.
He’s a regular church attendee and has been known to dress up in a suit and tie. However, “it’s more casual now than it used to be,” he said.
Mr. Faulls is in good health for someone who has surpassed the century mark and still takes an occasional walk.
“When I first moved here, I used to take a walk every morning,” he said. “They have a place down by the creek. You walk down there and come all the way across, and you turn around and come back. I guess it’s about 1½ miles, maybe even 2 miles. I’m not sure.”
His handshake remains a mighty tight grip, probably originating from his U.S. Navy service in the Pacific theater during World War II. He served on a destroyer escort, whose mission was to find and sink enemy Japanese submarines, and it was able to score some kills.
Mr. Faulls served just under two years with the Navy. After the war, he worked about 33 years for a pattern-making company that made castings for foundries. He also was employed by an automobile parts supplier.
On a wall in his home is a wooden sign, saluting him for his U.S. Navy service in 1944-45. The circular Navy seal is embedded in the American flag.
“A gentleman from Virginia, he saw it on television when I reached 100 last year. He sent it to me,” said Mr. Faulls. “I thought that was really nice.”