For most of his life, Sterling Tattrie has been on the move.
And these days, at age 81, the South Branch resident is as active as he ever was.
Bowling, gardening, carpentry, walking the dogs, reading, travelling, you name it and, in many cases, Tattrie is doing it.
“I’ve always wanted to keep busy and these days bowling is part of it,” said Tattrie. “It’s about a 23-mile drive from my home to the Bible Hill Bowlacade and I enjoy driving in and bowling twice a week.
“It’s well worth it. I’m not in there because of my high average. It’s for the fun of it and to keep active.”
Walking the family pets is also part of his regimen.
“My wife Vera and I have two dogs,” Tattrie said. “They are five-year-old spitzes. They’re just small and walking them is another way I get exercise.”
A carpenter for most of his life, Tattrie has not laid up his tools either.
“I won’t shingle a big roof now but I still do small jobs to help out friends now and then,” he said. “Recently, Carl Dash and I built a doorstep for the South Branch United Church. Last fall I traveled to Wellington and put an addition on a friend’s house. I’ve renovated our 125 year-old house and I’ve put new floors down.”
And what would spring and summer be without hours spent in the garden.
“We have a vegetable garden that is 35 feet by 20 feet,” Tattrie said. “We also have four apple trees, three pear trees, a plum tree, raspberries and lots of grape vines and massive grapes.
“I just love living here in South Branch. This is a beautiful area to live.”
He loves to read, too.
“I enjoy history and I love to check on different things by looking them up in the encyclopedia.”
Tattrie and his wife Vera have also visited more than 30 countries over the years.
“We just got back from a Mediterranean cruise. We visited the Vatican in Rome, Venice, Monte Carlo, Croatia. We were all over.
“We’re thinking about a trip to China later this year.”
On one trip to Europe, Tattrie had a unique driving experience.
“I drove on the fast autobahn. I stayed in the slowest of three lanes. In the fast lane, I dare say they were traveling 150 miles per hour. They were moving.”
His active lifestyle can be traced to his childhood.
“I was brought up in Upper North River and as a teenager I’d run six miles to the ball field to play softball for North River Aces,” Tattrie said. “After the game, I’d run the six miles back home.”
Tattrie later played softball for Alton and for several he played baseball for Wellington.
Tattrie left school in 1946 as a 15-year-old and went to work for Truro Building Supplies. He worked 45 hours each week.
“I cleared $17.06 every week and I put $10 of it in the bank,” he said. “I helped build 24 houses on Normandy Avenue in Truro. Two-story houses sold for $10,000 back then. Semi-bungalows were $9,500. Everyone said that only lawyers or doctors could afford to buy one of those houses.”
In 1947, Tattrie began a 13-year career with his father, Victor, a longtime local contractor. From 1960 until 2010, he worked for three different Halifax-area contractors.
He married Vera Fleck of South Branch in 1963 and they raised four children.
Besides his long carpentry career, Tattrie was a member of the Lions Club in Fall River for 30 years and a Boy Scouts of Canada leader for 15 years.
“I just loved carpenter work,” he said. “I couldn’t think about ever quitting. Retiring was never really in my vocabulary. I kept working until I was 78.”
After residing in Wellington and Bedford for 50 years, the Tattries opted to spend their retirement in Colchester County. They purchased a property in South Branch, just across the street from where Vera grew up.
“We’re pleased with the way it has worked out,” Vera said. “Sterling is still very active, he has great energy. He’s in amazingly good health. Sterling doesn’t take one pill. Working outside all those years I think this has something to do with his good health.”
The Tattries enjoy the company of eight grandchildren. They are both active in the Stewiacke Valley Baptist Church.
TAGLINE: Lyle Carter’s column appears every Tuesday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a column idea, contact him at 673-2857.