HIGHMORE MAN WINS GOLD MEDALS JUST BEFORE 100TH BIRTHDAY
What a way for John Zilverberg to turn 100.
The Highmore resident and former rancher was surprised by his extended family at the Pierre Regional Airport Friday as he flew back to South Dakota after winning three gold medals in the National Senior Olympics in Cleveland.
His daughter-in-law, April, said, slight hearing loss aside, Zilverberg is still amazingly sharp both mentally and physically. He golfs nine holes every morning if the weather is good, maintains an expansive garden and comes into Pierre constantly to bowl. He was still climbing onto and mending roofs into his 80s before concerned family persuaded him to stop.
She admits to being a little in awe at all that her father-in-law still manages to do.
“Isn’t anyone? My husband is less agile than his father,” she said.
Zilverberg credits much of his longevity and energy to his days spent ranching, which required strength and endurance for decades. His advice for others wishing to reach his age and level of spryness, in addition to the usual tip about exercising, is rather simplistic.
“Don’t drink yourself to death; don’t smoke yourself to death,” he said, but added that obviously there is an x-factor of genes that can also help.
Zilverberg has been competing in the Senior Olympics since 1985. His brother had gone to inaugural games the year before and so he decided to give it a try, even though he hadn’t played many sports during his life.
But now that he’s become one, there is no slowly down. He’s already determined to attend the games in Minneapolis in 2015 and already has a partner his own age for mixed bowling.
Outside of his physical achievements, he is also recognized in his community for his charity work. Every year he is in the habit of donating $1,000 to every church in Highmore at Christmas time. For these efforts and his accomplishments the town declared July 10 this year as “John Zilverberg Day.”
By David Rookhuyzen
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