Burlington man celebrates 105 years of life

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A Burlington man reveals his secrets to living more than a century as he celebrates his 105th birthday.

Francois Bourgeois and his caretaker, Johanna Laba, say physical activity, kindness and hot water are the key ingredients to a long life.

“Every morning, he has a cup of hot water, a bowl of Raisin Bran with maple syrup on it, a banana, orange juice and half a donut,” said Laba. “You’re supposed to drink water and it’s hot. I wonder if that’s good for you? He’s been doing it for years, so maybe that has something to do with it.”

Francois also enjoys sports. He used to bowl but stopped when he was 102. He says he also took up boxing when he was 19 years old. He says he was about to challenge Vermont’s boxing champion when he retired at age 27.

On Tuesday, WCAX News attended Francois’s birthday celebration at Rozzi’s where he celebrates every year with his wife, Irene, Johanna and their dog, Vinny. Johanna tells WCAX that Francois always orders fried chicken and a glass of chardonnay. After they finish eating, the staff at Rozzi’s always surprises Francois with a cake as everyone sings "Happy Birthday" to him.

When asked how he feels now that he is 105, Francois said he doesn’t feel any different than he did 10 years ago.

Francois was born on August 13, 1914, in Ottawa, Canada, and moved to Vermont when he was 15. He says the state has changed drastically since he’s been here and the most remarkable difference is the number of buildings there are.

Johanna says Francois’ doctors say he is extremely healthy for his age and they predict he will live several more years. Francois wants to live to be 120.