Local man to celebrate 100th birthday on Thursday


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A resident of Brookdale Senior Living Solutions Eli Anderson “Tab” Torbett will celebrate his 100th birthday on Thursday, August 19.

According to a release from Brookdale, Torbett was born in Sullivan County in 1921. In 1942, Tab began serving in the United States military where he helped haul ammunition in France and Belgium.

By 1945, he ended up in Germany, where he was assigned to guard German prisoners. Torbett noticed that one of the prisoners spoke some English so he started to talk with him. He recalls the prisoner being very kind and wishing for an end to the war. He also stated that the prisoner would always offer the help clean.

“He would shine our boots for us so well we could see our reflection,” Torbett recalled.

The release continues, saying Torbett was released from the army in Indiana. He received $50 and returned to Sullivan County, where he worked on a family farm and did some electrical work for Eastman.

Torbett’s father gave him an acre of land that Torbett used to grow and sell vegetables and flowers. His business expanded with more greenhouses, and he made a name for himself in the community.

In 1948, Torbett married Peggy Penuel and they raised a daughter, Kevyn Torbett.

Torbett and Peggy moved to Brookdale in 2017, and Peggy died in 2018.

Torbett now puts his talents of growing flowers and vegetables to good use at the senior living center.

Upon asking Torbett what the biggest change has been during his lifetime he stated, “Technology.”

Torbett uses an iPhone to keep in touch with friends and family.

“We’re so happy to celebrate Tab’s 100 years and wish for him many more full of good health and purpose,” said Lisa White with Brookdale Senior Living Solutions.

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