World War II Veteran celebrates 100th birthday in Wilmington

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Friends and family gathered to celebrate John Sloan's 100th birthday on Monday (Photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Another year older and another year wiser, a Brunswick County man celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday in Wilmington.

Friends and family gathered for a celebration for the ages to honor John Henry Sloan on his 100th birthday.

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“It’s surprising, it means a whole lot,” Sloan said. “It means a whole lot to see all of them, friends and family.”

The guests honored Sloan and his wife, Eliza Baptist Sloan, during the party. Eliza said she couldn’t believe the day to celebrate John’s 100th birthday had finally come.

“People ask me when his birthday is, 9-6-21. 21 is here! 100 years,” she said. “Who would have thought when I met him 54 years ago that we’d be living to see his 100th birthday.”

The two married in 1969 after John’s first wife died. Now the two have 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 54 great-grandchildren, 8 great-great-grandchildren, and a dog named Sam.

The centurion has done a lot in his 100 years, including serving in World War II. Sloan drove on the front lines in Italy, collecting the dog tags of fallen soldiers.

“Pretty rough time in the service, ducking bullets and all that kind of stuff,” Sloan said. “Lucky enough that the Lord took care of me, didn’t get a scratch. Made it back home safe. That was the best part about it.”

So, what’s his secret to living a century-worth of a life well-lived?

“Try to live right, do the right thing, treat everybody nice and right, and then the Lord will look out for you,” John said. “Live so that somebody will follow after you, in a good way.”

WWAY wishes John Sloan a very happy birthday and many more!

The group was mindful of the ongoing pandemic by taking temperatures of guests at the door, asking everyone to wear their masks and be fully vaccinated. Eliza said she is grateful that everyone obliged.