Wayne Streeter

Return to Class of 1930

07/19/2021
Wayne Garland Streeter was born, on May 26, 1912, into a farming family in Burlington, Iowa, Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Streeter, Knoxville, IA.

June 24, 1939, His earliest memory is his first day of school.
Redding resident Wayne Streeter.

More than a century later, Streeter is ambivalent about birthdays.
“Birthdays were never big in my family,” Streeter said. “It’s just another day passed.”

His 106th included a visit from daughter Jane, 66, and her husband from Seattle.
“We’ll have a cake and Chinese food,” said son Mike Streeter, 75, prior to his father’s birthday. “He eats a lot of salt.”

Mike Streeter said his father doesn’t require much care and “doesn’t even go to the doctor anymore. We kind of stay out of each other’s way and it works pretty well.”

Wayne Streeter said no one in his family lived to 100, let alone past it. Both of his parents died at 86 years old. Four of his siblings died in their 70s and 80s. His one surviving sibling is a sister in Los Angeles, 94, who lives alone and is healthy.
“I started school when I was 4 years old. I was just a little kid. I shouldn’t have been there.”

Streeter was 6 years old when World War I ended in 1918.

“I remember a lot of propaganda about Germany” ‘They used to chop the little kids hands off,’ and things like that,” Streeter said.
“They actually did worse than that in the next war.”

He graduated at 17. The Depression interrupted his college plans.

“I was in the Civilian Conservation Corps. We got $30 a month; $25 of it was sent home.”

MORE: Going to ‘the Wall’ for Vietnam War Veterans

Then Streeter went to cosmetology school and cut hair at a salon in Davenport, Iowa.

“I got so sick of working on women, I quit.”

Streeter worked at a tractor company in Peoria, then operated a department store elevator in Burlington.

“You’ve got to turn a crank to make it go up and down.”
Streeter met his wife Ethel Kolkman in the elevator.

Ethel Elizabeth Kolkman, daughter of Henry and Effie E. Kolkman.
The marriage took place at the parsonage, On June 24, 1939, in the First Baptist Church, Saturday night.

“She was a good basketball player. I asked her to come to see me play basketball. In a year we were married.”
His path to Redding, Jobs with the military and with a water and sewage treatment plant followed.

In 1956, Streeter took Ethel and their three children, Mike, Jane, and Sharon on vacation to California.

“Beverly Hills had a job opening for water production superintendent,” Streeter said. “Beverly Hills had all the water rights for Culver City.”

He got the job.

“It was the worst job I ever had in my life,” Streeter said, mainly because his bosses didn’t get along.

“The last job I had was regional water quality control (inspector) for the state,” Streeter said. “We had a lot of oil wells; any discharge, we had to control where they could put it. We had to be sure they weren’t contaminating anything.”

MORE: Operators lose license over water bacteria reports.

When Streeter retired in 1975, the 63-year-old and his wife moved to Shingletown near his younger brother Worth.

“It was a retirement village to start with. We had the greatest friends we ever had in Shingletown.”

The couple moved to Redding in 1987 to care for their daughter Sharon, now deceased.

His son Mike moved from Seattle to Redding in 2010 to help him care for Ethel. She died in 2012.

“She was a wonderful wife and mother,” Streeter said. “We’d been married 74 years.

“I think I’ve got another year at least,” said Streeter of being a centenarian. “I just take things as they come. I never thought about being old. I still don’t. I’ve got a good life and I’m happy.”

It is unclear if Streeter is Shasta County’s oldest person.
“People want a quick fix, they want to cheat,” Young said. “If your goal is to live long, endurance is better than building muscle, all things being equal. If you want to live to 110, it’s maybe better to be the bicyclist, not the weightlifter. Moderation is the key.”

Young points out quality is important, too. If you love weightlifting it may be worth it.

Don’t cheat on sleep.

“People who get seven hours of sleep or more have a 30-percent lower risk of death than people who slept five hours or less,” Young said. “When your body is asleep, it’s taking out the trash on a cellular level.”

Meanwhile, Young studies the lifelong habits and personalities of supercentenarians, people 110 years old and older. He said supercentenarians often share certain characteristics.

“They tend not to be overweight,” Young said. “Most are female. They tend to be self-directed individuals. They’re emotionally stable. They tend to walk fast. They tend to get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every day.”

“I just take things as they come. I never thought about being old. I still don’t. I’ve got a good life and I’m happy.”
Wayne Streeter

Supercentenarians usually handle stress well, are active, and have something they enjoy doing: Hobbies like gardening, playing cards, or other activities.

“Most of them have some type of social support network, people who care about them,” Young said.

Supercentenarians usually led active lives but didn’t overdo it.

Other things being equal, places, where siestas are common, tend to have more supercentenarians. These include Spain and Italy.

Another variable is eating habits. People who live long eat less junk food, eat smaller portions and don’t binge/overeat.

“If it (the body) gets too much at once you get a traffic jam of molecules,” overloading the system, Young said. Also “anything you put in your body that’s artificial, it doesn’t know what to do with it.”Wayne Streeter

Obsessing about time could knock years off our lives.

“It’s good to keep a schedule, but it needs to be a schedule where you feel, ‘Okay, it’s that time of day,’” Young said.
Americans and Germans tend to stress precision.

“That’s okay if you’re a surgeon,” Young said.

Wayne Streeter died on July 10, 2021, at the age of 109.