Senior Living & Townehouse News

Ventura Townehouse resident Don Bowles

Don Bowles: How to turn 100 without really trying

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Ventura Townehouse resident Don Bowles on a resistance training machine in the Townehouse fitness centerDon Bowles, who becomes a centenarian this month, says living to 100 is easy. “I go to the gym twice a day when it’s open… ride the elevator five floors: not a rough commute. Also, I eat lots of vegetables… are these things hard to do? I don’t understand what people are doing with their time who aren’t exercising – everyone here has done harder things; it’s not like we’re being asked to become fluent in other languages.”

Incidentally, Don was fluent in Russian for years, so he certainly has done harder things. He eviscerated turkeys and bagged groceries as a youth and was a professional singer before giving it up for a career in academia. After graduate degrees and a PhD from Columbia he became the world’s top expert on Russian timber; spending years in Moscow on special projects – while living in Maryland and teaching Economics at American University in DC. Because of his extended time in the USSR, you might think Don was a CIA agent.

“Ridiculous” he says, “I’m terrible at keeping secrets.” Don retired as VP of American University… where he greatly strengthened the faculty team by removing dead wood (that means kicking out low performers). The University still has boxes of his published papers, and he earned many prestigious awards.

“Very few people are interested in this stuff, even after the work I did for the CIA was declassified…” wait, I thought he didn’t work for the CIA?! Whatever. Don doesn’t spend much time talking about the past. He’s more interested in what you think about the world around us right now, and what you’re doing about it.

When he’s not keeping up with the news and refuting rumors about his life, Don spends time pushing the TH management team on improvements. “What a privilege it is to live in a beautiful, high-quality place like this. Being around for a long time is easy; just give up the booze, exercise, and eat right. Speaking of exercise, why isn’t the gym open more often? Six days a week would be nice,  and it wouldn’t be hard to do.”

About the author: Brian Cargille, like most people, wants to be more like Don. He is the son of TH resident Brenda Knight, and the retired Sr. VP of Operations at HP… who now teaches group exercise at the Ventura YMCA. Despite Don’s example, Brian *only* goes to the gym once per day, and believes his superpowers come from extra crispy French fries.