104-year-old southern Arizona man gets special birthday surprise

man celebrates 104th birthday

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A southern Arizona man turned 104 years old Saturday and got quite a birthday surprise.

More than 200 cars, golf carts and fire engines paraded by Fred Klein's house as he watched from his drive-way.

"I've seen parades, I've been in parades but this was pretty special with people that love him, know him, admire him, his past and his present," said Klein's girlfriend, Elaine Stamm.

104-year-old southern Arizona man gets special birthday surprise
104-year-old southern Arizona man gets special birthday surprise (Source: KOLD)

The parade was a special surprise for a very special person.

"He might not remember what happened two days ago but he certainly remembers what happened 80 or 90 years ago," said Klein's friend Doug Springer.

Klein was born in 1916 and lived through the Spanish flu. He is a World War II veteran and flew 63 missions in a B-25 medium bomber.

"Part of it is luck that I got through World War II," Klein said.

The 104-year-old has quite a list of life accomplishments. Klein is a swimmer and holds a U.S. record in his age group for the 50 yard backstroke. His goal is to compete again next year and break the U.S. record for the 105 to 109 year old age group.

"You've got to be 105 to swim in it, so there's not gonna be much competition," he said. "I feel fine, I'm just lucky."

Klein has plenty of stories to tell.

"I had two boys, both very successful businessmen," he said. "One is a millionaire and another a multimillionaire."

He was married to his wife for 72 years before she passed away. Now Klein has his girlfriend, Elaine Stamm, to keep him company. She also lost her husband.

"Now at this stage, I have a girlfriend who was a Miss America runner-up," he said. "Just a lovely lady."

The two spend time with each other often.

"His girlfriend calls him or he calls his girlfriend just before 9 in the morning then she comes over just before 5 in the afternoon," Spring said. "They have a little cocktail and then they have dinner."

Today’s surprise was another special life event for Klein to add to his list.

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