Longtime Lewisburg resident Andy Detch celebrated a monumental birthday on Friday, October 2.
Detch turned a young 100-years old. Born in a small mining community in Taylor County, Detch was the youngest son of Hungarian immigrants. Detch was sworn in as an officer in the United States Navy on Halloween day 1941. The swearing in ceremony, which took place on the steps of the courthouse in Charleston, happened just weeks after his 21st birthday, and little more than a month before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. When word of the attack came, Andy was in the Navy Barracks, dressed only in his skivvies.
“I was caught with my pants down,” Detch said about the day the United States entered World War Two.
During the war, Detch served aboard the USS Brennan, a destroyer escort-class ship. Detch was discharged from the Navy in 1945, and then enrolled at Fairmont University. (Fairmont State College at the time.) From there, he went on to West Virginia University Law School, where he graduated in 1950. Mr. Detch was admitted into the Bar Association on the same day.
Andy Detch met Helen, the woman who would become his wife of 76-years, in 1942. The couple soon relocated to Lewisburg where Andy practiced law with his brother, John. Andy would go on to practice law in Lewisburg for 35-years before retiring.
“I met an awful lot of nice people over the years,” Mr. Detch said of his time in practice. “I was always glad to make friends.”
The Detch family joined the Lewisburg United Methodist Church in 1950, and are still members to this day. At one point, Mr. Detch served on the Church’s Board of Stuarts. And at 100-years old, Andy is the second-oldest current member of the Church.
Andy attests his long and well-lived life to the love of his wife, Helen.
“I’ve gotten so much TLC because I’ve lived with a married woman for 76-years,” Andy said while holding back a laugh. “Everything I’ve done, every activity I’ve been a part of…I’ve made friends. I’m very fortunate that I’ve met so many good people. Life is good.”