CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -
Claude Ogle, Sr. loves to entertain "the older folks" in Cleveland, but that isn't easy. At the age of 100, there aren't many older folks around. So he sings and plays piano for his neighbors at Cleveland Towers, and performs a regular Friday morning show at Life Care of Cleveland.
The youngest (and only surviving member) of a large, church-going family, Claude taught himself to play various instruments in his teens. "Me and God just worked it out," he said. These days, he sticks mostly to the piano, pounding out Gospel favorites and a few self-written songs as well.
Crediting his longevity to "God and Hardee's biscuits," Ogle still drives, enjoys a good meal, and mostly shuns exercise. "I'm stout enough already," he laughs. Blessed with a razor-sharp memory, he can recite poems he's written, and just about every song in the church hymnal. He's also an avid storyteller, recalling life's events ranging almost to his birth in 1915.
A lifelong resident of Cleveland, he still attends church faithfully at South Cleveland Church of God, where he's been a member for 75 years. Retired for more than 30 years, and widowed for a decade, he refuses "to sit around and do nothing." He adds, "Too many old folks do that, but I've got to keep moving." He says music helps keep him young, and he looks forward to his time behind the piano and microphone.
"Some of these people need cheering up," he said, "and I'm just the man to do it." He celebrated his 100th birthday Sunday at the church, surrounded by more than a hundred friends and relatives.