WILTON — Hamblin “Ham” Allen of Jay, who turned 100 Thursday, picked up a tenpin bowling ball, stepped into place and rolled it down the alley at Meadow Lanes Bowling Alley in East Wilton.

He bowled a spare in that frame. His score was 122 for that game. He bowled a 134 in his first game and was working on his third.

Allen bowls twice a week in two leagues, the Super Seniors on Tuesday and the Incredible Seniors on Thursdays. The Thursday league held a surprise birthday party for him prior to the first pins falling.

Hamblin “Ham” Allen of Jay, who turned 100  Thursday, bowls on his birthday in the Incredible Seniors league at an alley in Wilton. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Allen keeps in shape with a daily exercise routine and tries to eat healthy.

“I do exercise stretches,” he said, and uses five-pound dumbbells during his routine.

His granddaughter, Abby DiPasquale of Jay, said they upped the dumbbell weight because, at three pounds, he was doing too many repetitions.

During his early years, Allen worked on the family farm with his brothers and attended school in Jay.

After graduating, he went to work in the woolen mills for a couple of years. He saved up money to buy a Model A Ford for $35 and later sold it for $50, according to DiPasquale.

He took a bus across the country to California, enrolling in aircraft/sheet metal school and working in a sheet metal factory. It was there that he received his draft notice from the U.S. Army, but rather than reporting, he drove a 1937 Ford convertible home to Maine and joined the U.S. Navy. After attending basic training in Massachusetts, he was shipped to Chicago and later to Minneapolis where he trained as an aircraft mechanic, according to his granddaughter.

At 100, Hamblin “Ham” Allen bowls twice a week, sometimes three, including on his birthday Thursday in Wilton. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

In 1945, Allen was stationed in San Diego waiting to ship out when World War II ended. He returned to Maine and used the money he made while in the Navy and working side jobs as a landscaper to buy his first Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He worked for G.H. Bass & Co. in Wilton for several years before opening his own business, Allen’s Garage, next to the North Jay Grange.

He also learned to build and race hot rods with some of his friends and chose to retire from his garage in 1987.

Allen got involved in the Jay community and served as the town’s fire chief for 26 years. He also volunteered at his church in many ways and continues to be involved in the East Wilton Union Church.

DiPasquale said her grandfather had his driver’s license renewed Monday and the woman at the Department of Motor Vehicles told them she had never renewed a license for someone 100 years old.

Allen still fixes small engines in his grandchildren’s lawn mowers, snowblowers and anything else they can find for him to tinker on. At 98, he gave up plowing and sold his plow truck , but continues to work at his grandson’s sugar shack each spring.

Up until he was 99, the only medicine he took was a baby aspirin, DiPasquale said. Allen contributed his longevity to having good genes.

“I have been healthy all of my life,” he said. “My mother lived to be 100.”

He still makes his own pies. DiPasquale said her grandfather’s specialty is chocolate cream pie, which he loads up with whipped cream.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: