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Frank Kavran

Frank Kavran celebrated his 102nd birthday Wednesday by playing bingo with other residents at Big Sky Living. Kavran says the secret to a long life is never marry.

The secret to a long life, according to 102-year-old Frank Kavran, is never marry.

Born Feb. 7, 1916, the centenarian celebrated his special birthday Wednesday by doing the one thing he loves to do — play bingo with his fellow residents at Big Sky Senior Living.

The youngest of 10 children, Kavran left school after the eighth grade. His father was a miner. His mother stayed busy at home, raising all the children. Kavran said he didn’t work the mines, but he took up sewing and sewed fan bags for the miners.

“I didn’t go to no high school,” Kavran said Wednesday. “I didn’t have to work, but I did.”

Fan bags were sampling bags miners took into the underground mines, Aubrey Jaap, administrative assistant for the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives said Wednesday. Made of canvas, they were used to take samples of ore from the vein to send to the Washoe Smelter in nearby Anaconda.

That enabled miners to test the richness of the ore to ensure that miners weren’t mining a bad vein.

The first war Kavran recalls is World War II. He served as a cook in the Army and traveled to Greenland.

“There were a few Germans coming around Greenland,” he said.

After five years of service in the Army, Kavran relocated to Portland, Ore., where he worked as a handyman in the Multnomah County Courthouse for years.

Kavran has outlived all of his nine brothers and sisters. He retired in Butte. That was long enough ago that he doesn’t recall exactly when he said adios to working.

Kavran didn’t think he’d live to be 102. Except for his current love of bingo, he never took up any hobbies.

“I worked all the time,” he said.

A bachelor his entire life, Kavran had no children of his own. But Kavran doesn’t appear to have any regrets about that.

“I never married. That’s why I’m living so long,” he said.

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Nat'l Resources / General Reporter

Environmental and natural resources reporter for the Montana Standard.

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