97th birthday just another day at work for Ellis Fowhand

By: Amber Southard Email
By: Amber Southard Email

Panama City - Generations of locals have grown up, and grown old on beds, sofas and chairs from Fowhand's Furniture. Many of them bought the furniture directly from Ellis Fowhand himself, who turned 97 years old Thursday and still works in his store almost every day.

Most people look forward to the day when they retire and don't have to report for the daily grind. Ellis Fowhand is not one of those people. At 97 years old, Ellis Fowhand still goes to work each day. Which may lead people to wonder what his secret is?

"There is no secret. I’ve just had so many opportunities, and my cup runneth over," said Fowhand.

Fowhand turned 97 Thursday. He has been working in the furniture business since 1933, buying Fowhands Furniture in 1952.

When asked if he's cut back recently, Fowhand admitted that some things have changed. "I usually work about half a day. From 7:00 in the morning until 7:00 in the evening...that's a half of a day isn't it?"

Even at 97, Fowhand doesn't miss a beat. He even still drives himself to work each day.

"I’ve got good eye sight, good hearing, and I hope good sense. For when I’m not in control of my good facility I hope I have enough sense not to drive," said Fowhand.

In all those years he's done just about every job in the store, from cleaning toilets to un-loading delivery trucks. Lately he's had time to add a few lighter tasks.

"I goof off a lot," said Fowhand.

And as for retirement..

"I like to do what I’m doing. When you do that, why retire?"

Fowhand said it's important to remember to live everyday to the fullest. We asked him if he had any big plans for his 100th birthday. In typical style, he deadpanned, "Honey, I don't plan. I don't even buy green banana's anymore!"

Fowhand says he'll celebrate his 97th birthday with his family at one of his favorite restaurants.


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