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Local man celebrates 100th birthday

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 23, 2016

 Stages of Kreiser’s life are reflected in a group of photos.

Stages of Kreiser’s life are reflected in a group of photos.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


STERLING HEIGHTS — A Sterling Heights man who served in World War II and shook hands with Winston Churchill celebrated a century of living May 11 when he turned 100 years old.

Fred Kreiser followed up his birthday with a party among family members at his home at Oakmont Sterling Assisted May 14.

Kreiser’s wife, Mary Rose Wilde-Kreiser, has been married to Fred for 18 years, and she said “it’s been a good time.” She said he is eager to celebrate being a centenarian and to spend time with his two sons as well as his grandchildren and great-granddaughter.

“His children — one lives in Connecticut and one in California, and they’re all coming, and he’s just looking forward to that,” she said.

Kreiser talked about his own hopes and reflections on turning 100. He said he looks forward to having a cake and presents.

“I’m kind of glad that I’m going to make it as expected,” Kreiser said. “I guess I’m kind of fortunate because I’ve passed through a lot of activities in my life, such as the U.S. Navy and working in Rockefeller Center in New York City.”

Kreiser was born in Pennsylvania and later moved to Connecticut. He said his education included attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University and Duke University, and he graduated with degrees in metallurgy and electrical engineering.

He said he spent about four years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. During that time, he said, he was a lieutenant and a chief radar officer aboard the USS Bennington — around the time when radar was growing as a favored technology in the war.

He said his career included working in New York City as a Singer Co. vice president of marketing. After his retirement, Kreiser moved to Florida, where he met his second and current wife, Mary Rose Wilde-Kreiser. Then the couple moved to Michigan.

He said some of his most memorable life experiences involved his Navy service, as well as the time he shook hands with Winston Churchill when the latter went to Harvard University to accept an honorary degree.

These days, Kreiser said, he spends his days reading, watching television, going on walks and exercising at the gym.

“We use the machines, the rockers and so forth,” he said. “They have about four or five machines in the gym here. … When I was young, it was mostly sports and outdoor things, whereas now, most of my activities are indoor type, such as cards.”