As part of Centenarian’s Day this month, we shine a spotlight on the incredible life of Bob Sproull, a remarkable individual who, at the age of 103, has experienced amazing adventures and lived through events straight out of the pages of history. We caught up with him comfortably ensconced in his Cibolo House apartment in his “electric kitty car” scooter, which he calls his “Cadillac,” accompanied by his cherished Maine Coon cat, the ever-graceful Mr. Tucker.
During our interview, Bob said that he moved close to family in April 2015 to Morningside at Menger Springs and has a son and daughter-in-law living in Boerne. He discussed his avid interest in metal detecting, from which he’s found many treasures that he keeps in his apartment to this day. He also talked about how most proud he is of having been married to his late wife Peggy, whom he met on a blind date in college, and their four children, Bob, Elizabeth “Buffy”, Bill and Brian.
When we asked Bob what his secret is to a long and healthy life, his answer was “Not to die at 101! Just make sure you’re always outside and to get in one Negra Modelo a day!” Our brief interview barely scratched the surface of Bob’s extraordinary life journey, and he graciously invited us to explore his written essays in his self-published Fishbowl Tales, which he wrote as part of a writer’s group at Menger Springs. These were just some of the highlights from the book about his life.
Military Service. Bob’s early years were marked by a profound sense of duty. He is a World War II veteran and served his country as a soldier in the United States Army, which left an indelible mark on his life. As a soldier in the 313th Field Artillery, one of the units that landed on Omaha beach on August 6th, he was a witness to the harrowing events of the Normandy landing. He writes that the stench of death and destruction was so overpowering in some inland areas that pilots of reconnaissance planes flying 1000 feet in the air were sickened. Surviving Normandy, he and fellow American soldiers were cheered by French natives in a village near St. Lo. He writes of digging foxholes in Chalons-sur-Marne and interacting with French resistance fighters. He also saw battle in the Bridgehead across the Moselle, and his unit, the 313th, was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the action on the Moselle when the war ended.
Bob’s service continued during the Korean Armistice in 1953, where he was housed at Army HQ near Seoul with Jack Kevorkian, also known as “Dr. Death.” Bob writes, “He was the friendliest and most unusual inhabitant. He had been born in the United States, but his parents were born in Turkey and he was multilingual. This had led to his assignment to Army intelligence.” After the war, he corresponded with Jack Kevorkian after he saw an article about his former housemate in the El Paso Times.
Dental Career. After World War II, Bob went to dental school on the GI bill at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dentistry. He retired as a Colonel Chief of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center Dental Clinic after 30 years of service. He also practiced as a Prosthodontist in El Paso for 23 years, leaving a lasting impact on the field of dentistry with his contributions related to color matching.
Peggy. Bob’s beloved late wife Peggy passed away last year in April with her family by her side in Boerne, TX. Her obituary cites a story Bob wrote about Peggy. In his own words: “The little Irish warrior is one of the bravest women I have known. She created four beautiful children in difficult times and circumstances and created a Home wherever we were! Throughout the years, Peg has been my rock of stability. She was the example of what an Army wife should be. She was a charming hostess, and a gourmet cook. She was a leader, with a velvet touch. And she made me feel loved.”
Turning 101. Bob writes, “There are things that are very different. Way back when, we’d scale a mountain or descend a cliff with no fear. Now I don’t change a location without both hands firmly on the Rollater. A nap is as big an event as what a night at the movies used to be. I fret when I can’t recall a name or a place. Or the sequence of events. But the earth keeps turning and I remind myself, “Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small.”
Bob also writes that moving to Menger Springs in Boerne was “One of the smartest moves we ever made!” and that “Whether I reach 102 or not, it has been a hell of a ride.”
We at Morningside could not be more proud to know this amazing individual and look forward to reading more of Bob’s tales about turning 103!