Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



November 23, 2018

Bennie Ormiston celebrates 97th birthday with friends at Aztec Restaurant on Friday.

Bennie Celebrates 97 With Style!

By Jacque Ritchie, TALON

Once in a great while, one gets the chance to meet someone who possesses an amazing force of nature quality. Bennie Ormiston is one of those people. At 97-years-young Ormiston still rides in style on the back of his Harley-Davidson trike, he enjoys target shooting, a quick turn on the dance floor and the occasional chicken-fried steak. Aztec Restaurant was the place to be on Friday, November 16, where Bennie joined by a group of friends and well-wishers celebrated his 97th birthday.

The youngest of seven children, Ormiston was born in Kismet, Kansas during the dustbowl days, "My dad was a dry-land farmer in Kansas it was a very rough time." Ormiston said, "we ate a lot of beans." Ormiston described how his mother would put wet handkerchiefs over her children's faces at bedtime to act as a filter for all the dust, "In the morning we would wake up and there would be mud just caked on there." Ormiston related about a time in 1931 when his dad was working at a gravel-pit near Kenton, Oklahoma and the workers came upon a trove of dinosaur bones, "They had to shut the whole pit down, they put a fence around it so we could all watch what they dug up."

The family "escaped" to Pritchett, Colorado (population 140, 2010 census) "I bought land for $5 an acre which I later sold for $40 an acre. I can't even imagine what it sells for now."

97 years young Bennie celebrates his birthday with pals at Aztec Restaurant on Friday.

During WWII Ormiston served in the U.S. Army as a Private 1st Class, in General Patton's 3rd Army as they marched through France in pursuit of Nazi invaders. Ormiston reportedly found himself with a broken leg in a hospital barrack in Toulouse, France when General George Patton arrived and slapped an enlisted man. Movie and media report that Patton accused the soldier of being was a coward. "That's not the way it happened at all," explained Ormiston, "He was not faking, he had frost-bitten feet and they had put maggots on there to eat away the rotten flesh, Patton made him get on his feet and slapped him and we all came at him, of course being injured we couldn't catch him, but we sure tried and he (Patton)just ran out the back door." According to Wikipedia at least two soldiers were slapped by Patton with an incident in Sicily involving an 18-year-old Private Charles Kuhl recieving the most media attention. Ormiston went on to say of Patton, "He lost his prestige after it came out." After the war Bennie returned to Colorado and farmed wheat, married twice and had two sons.

For Bennie's birthday cowboy crooner Peter Brown aka 'Otis the One-Man-Band' serenaded the crowd keeping the dance floor full. This holiday season Ormiston said he is thankful for, "Diana for taking care of me these are some of the best friend I have ever had," speaking about caretakers Diana and Randy Lobato. What is the secret of living a long and happy life? According to Bennie it's pretty simple, "Just keep working hard and being a good kid,"


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