Four long-time friends and local business owners are celebrating their birthdays this week.
Bob King, Tom Fleck and Lou Lee turn 90 this week, while Gene Good is turning 91 today.
"We all knew each other in high school and after high school," Lee said. "Tiffin isn't that large. Besides, Bob always had a car, and nobody else did."
PHOTO BY ZACH GASE
Bob King (from left), Lou Lee, Gene Good and Tom Fleck all celebrate birthdays this week. King, Lee and Fleck are turning 90 and Good will turn 91 today.
The four friends graduated from high school in 1940 - Fleck and Lee from Calvert and King and Good from Columbian. Three of them were born in their homes in Tiffin, and Good was born in a hospital in Columbus.
"The nurse stayed with me and my mother all evening," Lee said. "The next morning, she left me, and she went to help (Fleck's) mom."
Lee said he and Fleck became friends by playing tennis together.
The four friends went on to own businesses in Tiffin: Good owned Good Office Supplies, Fleck owned Fleck's Electric, Lee owned Lee's Floor Coverings and King got a patent for designing marine propulsion controls.
"(King) built motors that nobody else thought of, and he got a patent on it," Lee said. "The motors that he built could go forwards and backwards. And those little tugboats couldn't do that before he came up with the idea."
Lee still works at Lee's Floor Coverings, and is supposed to retire Monday, his 90th birthday.
Lee, Fleck and Good lived in Tiffin their whole lives, except when they were serving in the war or attending college. Good was born in Columbus, but was raised in Tiffin. King lived in Hudson, N.Y., for about three years, and came back to Tiffin in 1967.
All four spent time in the service King and Good served in the Navy and Fleck and Lee served in the Army.
King, Fleck and Good have girlfriends, and Lee has been married to his wife for 66 years.
"I still got my first wife, and these guys don't," Lee said. "I just been lucky, that's all. I got one hell of a good wife."
Lee said he met his wife about four months after getting out of the service, on a blind date set up by his friend.
"So we go to Fremont, (my friend) knew where this girl lived, so he took me there and I got out of the car and went in (to her house). I thought he was going to get his girl and come back. He left me there, until 10:30," he said.
He said he did not go on another date with her for another few months.
"But the first night I had that date with her, I told her, 'I'm going to marry you someday,'" Lee said. "And I did."
He tried to give his wife her engagement ring during a midnight Mass on Christmas at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Fremont, but she did not accept it until after Mass.
"I thought, gee, that would be different, getting engaged in church," he said.
Fleck met his wife in Berlin, while serving in the war, and Good met his first wife in high school. King met his wife in college, at Purdue University.
The four friends have gotten together and had dinner occasionally for the past three or four years, King said.
Their girlfriends and Lee's wife are planning on taking them out for a birthday dinner, Fleck said.
"We're still going," King said. "I hope we can have our birthday together another five years. Think we can do it?"