World War II veteran celebrates 101st birthday

Published 9:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

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VALLEY — A World War II veteran recently celebrated his 101st birthday at Valley Park Manor. Luther Z. Heath was born in Camp Hill, Alabama on Dec. 10, 1920. On that same day, President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in establishing the League of Nations.

Heath was living in Mobile when drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. He served two years in the European Theater of the war, a time when U.S. soldiers were fighting in North Africa, Italy, France and Belgium. Heath was in Germany when the war ended in the spring of 1945.

After the war, he worked as a sheet metal worker for Sims Metal Works. He was a valuable employee and worked until he was 86 years old. He loved being active and chose to keep working as long as he was physically able to do the job.

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“It was a great pleasure for us to treat him on his birthday!” said Amber Griggs, administrator of Valley Park Manor Assisted Living & Memory Care. “We were so glad some of his family members were here to be part of his special day.”

He was married to his wife, the late Pearl Heath, for many years. He is the father of four children, Sara Gore, Sally DeJournette, Julia Magourik and Zachary Heath III.

“It was both a pleasure and an honor for us to host a birthday party for him,” Griggs said. “He loves watching baseball.”

He no doubt enjoyed watching the Atlanta Braves win the World Series this year.

The Boston Braves won the world title several years before his birth, but he lived to see the Milwaukee Braves win it in 1957 and the Atlanta Braves take the title in 1995  and 2021.

“Luther is a mild-mannered man with few words,” Griggs said, “but when one talks to him they are speaking to someone who has seen, and taken part in, so much history. God has blessed Mr. Heath and his family down through the years. We were so pleased to salute him for standing the test of time. It was a privilege for us to wish him a happy birthday. We hope he has many more.”