Longtime Whately resident celebrates 100 years

  • Longtime Whately resident Walt Harubin turned 100 years old on Feb. 8. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

  • Longtime Whately resident Walter “Walt” Harubin, who turned 100 years old on Monday, enjoys hunting and fishing to this day. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

  • Longtime Whately resident Walter “Walt” Harubin turned 100 years old on Monday. Staff Photo/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Monday, February 22, 2021

WHATELY — Sitting in his family home, the one he built 60 years earlier, 100-year-old Walter “Walt” Harubin credited his long life to healthy choices: He never drank, nor did he ever smoke, he says. But it wasn’t just that.

“(Alexandria) was a good cook,” Harubin said of his late wife. “That’s probably why I lived so long. She was a wonderful person.”

A lifelong resident of western Massachusetts and a longtime resident of Whately, Harubin celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday.

“I guess I’m one of the lucky ones,” he said. “Not too many people reach that age.”

But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he doesn’t have plans for a big celebration.

“We’ll celebrate when things get better,” he said.

Harubin grew up in Hatfield before moving to Whately, where he and Alexandria raised their two children, Kathy and Greg Harubin. He now has two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

As a child, he worked on his father’s farm, he said. He later went to Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, where he studied to be a mechanic. He worked in a garage before joining the Army. While in the service, he was stationed in the Pacific Theater for 3½ years.

“I’m very fortunate and lucky that I came home in one piece,” he said. “I’m thankful for that.”

When Harubin returned to the United States, he worked in a family garage business until taking a job at a company in Chicopee that made vinyl footwear.

“I started out as a maintenance man and ended up being the plant engineer,” he recounted.

After 25 years at the Chicopee-based company, he took a few years off from work — only to realize retirement wasn’t for him. He noticed an ad in the newspaper for a security job at Historic Deerfield, applied for it and was hired.

“It was something to keep me busy and earn a little income for hunting,” he said. “I had it pretty good there.”

Harubin worked as a security guard until last year, when an injury prevented him from carrying out his responsibilities.

To this day, Harubin enjoys hunting and fishing — and although he likely won’t be making the trips to New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont or Colorado as he has in the past, he hopes to continue with it next year.

“I’m going to be ready to go,” he said.

Harubin recently received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, but he only goes out when it’s necessary and is careful about letting people into his home.

“I just plug along and take things as they come,” he said. “That’s about all I can do.”