Earl Bolton has a secret to living a long, healthy life, and it’s not something you’d expect.
Bolton, who’s 106 years old, is the oldest known living man in Clark County, according to his family and Gerontology Wiki, a website that tracks the oldest people in the U.S.
Bolton also clocks in as the second-oldest man in Washington and 54th-oldest in the U.S.
Bolton attributes his lengthy life to health habits such as being vegetarian and not smoking. But Bolton, who practiced as a doctor for roughly 40 years, also swears by another less popular health habit: eating slowly and chewing thoroughly.
“The food digests better if you do that,” Bolton said.
Bolton lives with his son Bob Bolton and daughter-in-law Rhonda Bolton in Salmon Creek. The family has been particularly COVID-19 safe over the last year, but now has peace of mind as Bolton became fully vaccinated in late March.
At 106, Bolton easily outlived his mother, father and three brothers, who all died between the ages of 69 and 94.
“He’s the oldest person we know and the oldest person he knows,” Rhonda Bolton said.
Bolton was born in 1914 on a homestead in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. He moved to Pomeroy in 1924 and graduated from Yakima Valley Academy in 1930 at age 15. He graduated from Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University) in 1936 and then the College of Medical Evangelists in California (now Loma Linda University) in 1943.
Bolton served in Italy during World War II and joined his brother Glenn’s medical practice in Wenatchee in 1946, where he practiced until 1985.
For 30 years, he also paraphrased the entire Bible for his daily devotional meditation.
Bolton’s long-term memory is sharp. He still remembers his dad coming home after World War I.
“I hardly understood the significance of it at that time, but it didn’t take long to realize it was a significant event,” Bolton said.
In his 80s, Bolton wrote his memoir on a computer. It wound up more than 300 pages single-spaced.
“I wanted to remember myself,” he said.
Bolton was also an avid hiker and mountaineer. He’s climbed Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount Whitney. His favorite view is one from Mount Adams, where you can see Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier.
Bolton credits “staying out of mischief” as another helpful habit for living long.
He did like to travel and fondly remembers one trip he took to China in the 1980s.
Bolton said he’s grateful for a full life.
“I appreciate having this much of a life,” Bolton said, “and I’ve enjoyed my life almost incessantly.”