Longtime Berkeley resident celebrates 100th birthday

“100 years is a long time, but it’s been a rewarding 100 for me,” Horace Whitmore told Berkeleyside this week.


Longtime Berkeley resident Horace Whitmore celebrated his 100th birthday this week from his home on Alcatraz Avenue.

“One hundred years is a long time, but it’s been a rewarding 100 for me,” Whitmore told Berkeleyside in a phone interview.

Due to the pandemic and social distancing safety requirements, Horace Whitmore’s birthday celebration Thursday was low-key, but with the love of his many cousins, nephews, nieces and friends, “it went very well,” he said.

Whitmore’s granddaughter Susan Johnson shared some of his life story with Berkeleyside. He was born in Lockesburg, Arkansas, on Feb. 11, 1921. Whitmore was the fifth of 10 children and, as a youth, he sang in his church choir. In 1942, at age 21, Whitmore moved to the Bay Area, where he has lived for the last eight decades.

Whitmore’s first job in the Bay Area was as a welding clerk at Morris Drydock, Johnson said, and he attended night school to learn more about his trade. He soon opened an auto body shop and then started his own trucking business.

When asked what advice he has for others hoping to see their 100th birthday, Horace Whitmore said it has been his faith that has helped him overcome challenges great and small.

“If you look beyond the physical, beyond to God himself, that’s what carried me through,” Whitmore said.

Read about other notable Berkeley birthdays in past Berkeleyside coverage.