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NJ man is turning 109. Here’s his simple advice for living a long life.

Vincent Dransfield (Singac Volunteer Fire Co. No. 3/Facebook)

Vincent Dransfield, who turns 109 years old on Tuesday, still drives his Hyundai every day to run errands and lives in the same Little Falls house he moved into in 1945.

The Passaic County native — who is possibly New Jersey’s oldest resident — has simple advice for living an improbably long life.

“It’s just knowing people and loving people, that’s all. That’s what makes you live longer. You keep yourself moving around,” Dransfield said Sunday during a pre-birthday party at his house in Little Falls.

Dransfield, according to his granddaughter, has never lived anywhere other than Little Falls and Paterson, where he was born at home in 1914 and quit school after the eighth grade.

He has one daughter, three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. His wife of 54 years, Ann, died in 1992.

He remains on the roster of Singac Volunteer Fire Co. No. 3 in Little Falls, where signed up more than eight decades ago and once served as fire chief. Firefighters unveiled a plaque honoring Dransfield on his 100th birthday in 2014.

He is a familiar presence at a nearby QuickChek, where he picks up coffee and newspapers, and occasionally stops by the nearby ShopRite supermarket. To keep up on his errands, he leased a Hyundai sedan two years ago.

“Yes, I drive every day. I go to the store and I buy what I need,” Dransfield said.

Dransfield’s granddaughter, Erica Lista of West Caldwell, her husband Michael and two of their children — Matthew, 17 and Christopher, 15 — dropped by his house Sunday for a pre-birthday celebration.

Dransfield had one slice of plain pizza, a glass of lemonade and carrot cake topped with birthday candles.

Dransfield, reached by phone after lunch, offered a hint of the humor for which he is known.

“My legs are bothering me a little because I’m starting to get old,” Dransfield said.

The laughs were plentiful at the gathering, his granddaughter said.

“He’s been cracking jokes all morning,” Lista said.

But, he also offered a poignant aside on the phone, understandable for someone turning 109.

“Maybe I can have another birthday after this one, I hope. I’ll be hoping I make another one,” Dransfield said.

Dransfield was born on March 28, 1914 — the same day as the late U.S. senator from Maine and 1968 vice presidential candidate Edmund Muskie — in a Preakness Avenue house in Paterson. Woodrow Wilson was president and the U.S. was about to enter World War I.

Lista, recapping her grandfather’s remarkable life, said he was delivering milk in his early 20s when his customers included legendary boxer Joe Louis, who trained in Pompton Lakes in the mid-1930s.

When Dransfield met his future wife, Ann, at a dance, she was standing near another woman, also named Ann.

“There were two Anns. He asked her to dance. The other Ann thought he meant her. He said, ‘no, I want to dance with her,’ and the rest was history,” Lista said.

When World War II broke out, he was working as a manager at the Schmid company — which supplied condoms to U.S. troops overseas — and he told his granddaughter that he was not drafted into military service because his job was classified as a civil defense position.

“That’s what kept him out of the war,” Lista said.

He and Ann moved into the Little Falls house in 1945, located where a road did not yet exist, Lista said. He and a neighbor convinced the township to open up Woodside Avenue.

He later worked as a manager at Crane Motors in Little Falls for 25 years, followed by several years at another job dealing with car parts, before retiring.

Dransfield continues to sleep in the upstairs bedroom at his house and is awakened every day around 7:15 a.m. by an NJ Transit train about eight houses away, he said.

There are downsides to living so long, Lista said.

“Unfortunately, he’s outlived all of his friends. At his age, it’s hard to make new friends,” she said.

Lista plans to have a birthday lunch with Dransfield on Tuesday. Her brother, Jeff Howard of Montville, will be coming by with his three children for dinner, she said.

The family had a big celebration for his 100th birthday, but now they try to visit in small groups, to avoid overwhelming him.

Dransfield, though, is determined to keep moving.

“Just don’t stand still. The main thing is to get to know people and love them,” he said.


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