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Local resident celebrates 100th birthday

One local resident is ringing in his 100th birthday surrounded by friends and family.

Longtime Coachella Valley resident Mel barton is not asking for much for his 100th birthday.

"I just want to be happy. And just take life easy, that's all," said Barton.

Barton's official birthday is on July 5 but celebrated the amazing milestone Sunday morning with nearly 20 of his close friends and family. His three daughters organized a brunch in celebration of the amazing life he has lived.

"If you get to be 100, you get to be celebrated in my book. And he's quite somebody to be celebrated," said Barton's daughter Kim Phillips.

Barton has worn many hats throughout his life. Son, father, grandfather, husband, World War II veteran, and doctor just to name a few.

"Watching him be acknowledged for all that brings me a great deal of joy," said Phillips.

Barton said he had many priceless memories over the years. Some painful like remarrying and losing his wife, to experiencing the hardships of The Great Depression and World War II.

"I was there on D Day when all the planes went over and we sent our troops over there," said Barton. "I was one of the groups that sent planes over there. We lost about half of them."

Other memories of his are full of joy. Like going to school and becoming a podiatrist for almost 40 years. Also, meeting his significant other Lee Gabriel.

"Lee and I traveled a lot. We did how many cruises? About 29 cruises I think. Yeah, we've been around," said Barton.

Through the years, those close to him have recognized his enduring patience and kindness. 

"Nothing upsets him since him and he finds a solution to all problems calmly and patiently," said his daughter Jo Eckert.

His grandson Jake Phillips has been taking every life lesson from his grandpa to heart.

"I love him, you know, he's just definitely always been there. It's like, a supporting role model for me, you know, shoulder to cry on," said Jake.

And Barton's secret to a long life:

"Be happy. Don't sweat the little things. Live life," said Barton.

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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