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by Carole Carson, AARP, October 27, 2008
He doesn't carry a drum like the Energizer Bunny, but G.B. Tucker, 79, of Nevada City, Calif., does march to his own beat.
Orphaned at 15 months, G.B. spent his childhood with various relatives. After lying about his age, he joined the Marines at 16. His 24-year career spanned duty in North China, Korea, and Vietnam, during which G.B. was awarded stars and citations for action in battles. His duties also included serving as a drill instructor, and later supervising other drill instructors. When he retired, heavily decorated, he had advanced through the enlisted ranks and set an example for all the men under his command.
After retiring at 40, G.B. went to college, earning his degree in forestry. Wanting a forest to practice on, he purchased 32.5 acres in a wooded area. He set up a sawmill on the property and cut down trees that he later used in the construction of his home.
Now over 70, G.B.'s continued discipline, talents, and interests are impressive. On the fitness front, G.B. does, or has done, almost everything—spinning, yoga, weights, cross-country skiing, hiking, handball, mountain biking, kayaking, competitive judo—just to name a few. At 5 feet 10 inches, he keeps himself at a trim 175 pounds.
"I feel like I’m about 55 years old," he estimated. "The only way I can do everything I want to do—like upgrade my forest land with a chain saw—is to stay in shape." As for advice to others, he suggested: "Develop an exercise habit. Your life will be more fruitful, you'll have more energy, and you'll make new friends."
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