Super Senior: Ed Billings

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 6:31 PM EST
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STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - Just up the hill from the village of Stowe, Ed Billings shares a century of living with his wife Patti.

Snapshots from a time long gone -- like his life during World War 2 as a merchant mariner on a Liberty Ship sailing the Atlantic. The German submarines were a constant menace.

“I’ll never forget it as long as I live -- see that torpedo that missed us go sailing by. And if it connected with us, I probably wouldn’t be here,” Billings said.

Perhaps because of that brush with death, Billings lives life to the fullest. He’s a painter, a builder, and a poet. But his greatest outdoor passion has been downhill skiing. He took it up to impress a girl back home in Massachusetts. “She says, ‘If you and I are going to date,’ she says, ‘my brother and I are skiers and you’re going to have to take up skiing,’” Billings recalled.

He rented equipment and headed up the mountain with no training. “I overheard her brother say, ‘Where did you find this bird! He don’t know how to ski and he never will,’” Billings said.

So Billings learned how to ski, partially to impress that girl, but more importantly to show that brother he was very wrong. He moved to Stowe. “I came up and got a job on the ski patrol,” he said. That skiing talent led him to eventually become the director of the Mount Mansfield Ski Patrol, the nation’s oldest.

There was the time he was an alpine ambassador for Ted Kennedy, the newly elected senator and kid brother of the president. “Ted Kennedy was a fairly good skier,” Billings said.

The builder worked hard and played hard.

Reporter Joe Carroll: He had been married three other times... any concern about that?

Patti Soper: Not at all.

Ed Billings: I had to keep trying until I got the right one!

It was actually Patti that made the first move. “That’s when I said to him, ‘When are you going to have your dinner?” Patti said.

Beef stew turned into a romance that has lasted for over 40 years. Billings wrote a poem for their wedding: “Perhaps it’s the funny moments of your chin or that it’s your kisses are beyond compare. I love you, ‘cause your heart it goes to share. A glimpse of happiness in a world of sin.”

At the age of 100, Billing has time to reflect. “I’m smart to realize that you reach an age, you can’t do what you did when you were younger,” he said.

A life with no regrets.

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