In 1916, Woodrow Wilson was president, the world was in the midst of the First World War, and Edward Skalicky was born.
More than 40 people celebrated the 100th birthday of the Del Mar resident, who would go on to become a hero in World War II.
“Everything was hunky-dory,” Skalicky said about his Aug. 6 birthday party at his Del Mar home, which featured a buffet, poker game and lots of presents. “Everybody was happy.”
Skalicky grew up on a farm in Jackson, Minnesota, with his parents and five siblings. After high school, he joined the National Guard and, in 1941, he was inducted into the U.S. Army.
Skalicky served overseas in Italy and North Africa during World War II. While in Italy, he was struck with shrapnel and later received the Purple Heart.
After the war, Skalicky married his wife, Lee, in 1950. The couple had three children, two sons and a daughter.
Skalicky worked as a “jack of all trades” all his life, but primarily as a plumber. He also owned a soft water company.
The family lived in Jackson, later in Minneapolis, and eventually relocated to Arizona. Skalicky continued to live in Arizona after his wife died in 1983 until three years ago, when he moved in with his daughter, Linda Watts, in Del Mar.
Skalicky had two grandaughters, one passed away, and has two great-grandaughters.
At 100 years old, Watts said Skalicky still takes care of all his basic needs and works with his trainer twice a week. They play cribbage daily and often host poker parties.