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Retired Navy Seaman, 104, Gets Banner Birthday Celebration

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Healthy Living

MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — A retired Navy seaman was treated to a birthday bash in Miami Beach Thursday morning.

With family and friends by his side, Harry Miller made his way down the dock to an awaiting boat to fulfill his birthday wish.

But this isn’t just any boat: it’s a Coast Guard vessel.

It is a fitting celebration for this centenarian: Miller spent some of his most memorable years on the water after being drafted into the Navy in 1941.

Miller was born on August 28, 1908 in New York City. He was the youngest of 3 children and  had 2 older sisters.

For many years in NYC, Miller was a dress manufacturer. As the U.S. entered the war, Miller was drafted into the Navy as a 2nd class signalman on the USS Wiseman destroyer escort. Later, Miller worked on a repair ship as a 2nd class signalman.

In November of 1945 he was discharged from Japan. When he returned to the States he continued manufacturing ladies’ dresses, taking his business to Atlanta in 1954.

He’s been married two times, has one son, two granddaughters, two grandsons, and four great grandchildren.

Harry met his Sally—in this case her name was Pearl—at a dance.

The couple had a son and named him Alan, but when he was 3 years old, mom Pearl got an infection and passed away.

Unsure whether he should find a mother or a wife, Harry remained single for six years.

Then, he was introduced to Lillian and was married for 46 years until she passed away.

He finally retired in Florida, making the most of it. In fact, Miller has a record with cruise ships, having been on 75 cruises in 30-35 years.

Last August, to celebrate his 103rd birthday, the retired Navy seaman was treated to a Coast Guard boat ride and birthday lunch.

TV and print media were there in full force for the celebration. His birthday story went viral and even trended on Twitter.

Harry began to hear from long lost friends from all over the country.  He received cards and gifts from the Navy. He, also, became very popular with ladies at The Preserve, an independent and assisted living retirement community in Pompano Beach, Fla. where he lives.

Asked about the secret behind his longevity, Miller said, “I lived a very good clean life, was always very athletically inclined and still work out in the gym here.”

Added Miller, “When I was about 10 years old my sisters taught me how to dance and I’ve danced the rest of my life as much as I can. I didn’t realize I was doing a lot of exercise and that has played a big part in my longevity.”

After the party, Miller enjoyed lunch at News Café on South Beach.

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