Walter Mitchell celebrated his 106th birthday at a luncheon at the Porthole Restaurant hosted by a large delegation of his friends from St. Joseph Parish on Union Street.
Mitchell, a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for 34 years, was born on Dec. 22, 1906. He grew up on Sheridan Street and attended the Aborn School, Eastern Junior High, and St. John’s Prep. He served four years in the United States Navy.
“God’s been good to me,” said Mitchell, who currently resides at the Bertram House in Swampscott. “Everything has gone my way all through life.”
When Mitchell was born, Theodore Roosevelt was President and the Boston Red Sox were known as the Boston Americans. They officially became the Red Sox in 1908 and won four World Series titles before trading Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920.
“I waited a long time to see the Red Sox win the Series again,” said Mitchell. “I was watching [in 2004] when they did it.”
What is the secret to Mitchell’s longevity?
“I like people,” said Mitchell. “I guess that’s my secret. As long as you like people, you’ll get along. I consider myself blessed.”
Mitchell never thought he’d see a day when people would be carrying around cellular phones. “I never thought I’d see phones like that. If my father saw what was going on today, he wouldn’t believe it. My father made violins, played them, and had an orchestra. But I couldn’t play a musical instrument.”
David Solimine Sr. helped arrange Mitchell’s limousine ride for the special occasion.
“I’ve known David for many years,” said Mitchell. “He’s a really good guy.”
“I got to know Walter through my associate, Billy Landrigan,” said Solimine, who led a toast at the luncheon. “I’ve known him for forty years. He’s a great, decent, generous person.”
Party co-organizers Eileen McCarthy and Paricia McCarthy said they have known Mitchell through St. Joseph Church for many years.
“A bunch of us took him to a luncheon at the Hawthorne years ago after his wife [Elizabeth] died, but he snuck out and paid the bill,” recalled Eileen. “But we enjoyed being in his company.”
“We used to tell all the kids, ‘go talk to Walter, because it’s living history,’’’ said Patricia. “He’s a wonderful friend and we love him very much.”
“We all love Walter,” said friend Mary Brienzo. “He’s such a kind-hearted person who’s always helping everybody.”
Josephine Phillip met Mitchell eight years ago. “He’s a gentleman, very caring, and a wonderful person.”
Mary Coulon had the honor of sitting next to Mitchell at the luncheon. “I know him from the church. I met him back in 1993. We’ve stayed friends. He’s quite a guy.”
John Connor, president of Connor Real Estate, recalled Mitchell’s noble gesture of starting a candy ministry.
“He used to get Russell Stover candies and then go to nursing homes in Lynn and give them candy,” said Connor, who has known Mitchell for 60 years. “Walter is a great, great guy.”