Gil Sheely will recall interesting tidbits spanning the past 10 decades as he celebrates his 90th birthday during a coming gathering. Sheelys family invites folks to have a piece of cake and party with the Pendleton man Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 11:30 a.m. at the Pendleton Senior Center, 510 S.W. 10th St.
Sheely was born Sept. 29, 1921, in Fairmont, Minn. the first of five children in his family. As a youngster growing up in Minnesota, Sheely developed an interest in fishing, a hobby that would occupy many a weekend over the years. Sheely recalls when his first grade class took time out to see Charles Lindbergh fly over Fairmont.
In 1937, Sheely joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and was stationed at two camps in the woods of northern Minnesota. An adventurous teenager, Sheely hitchhiked and rode freight trains traveling to both coasts of the United States. To finance his travels, Sheely worked various odd jobs, including in a circus.
Sheely enlisted in the Navy in 1941. He served for six years as an aviation metalsmith. After World War II started, he repaired and maintained Navy planes.
Sheely took Prudence Prudy Kiel as his bride in 1943. She worked in a Corpus Christi, Texas, defense plant as a Rosie the Riveter. After the war, the couple moved to Klamath Falls. The couple had two sons, Fred Sheely, now of Umatilla, and Craig Sheely, who resides in Florence.
For a dozen years in the 50s and 60s, he owned a heating and sheet metal business in St. Helens. After selling the business, he helped build his home in Lewiston, Idaho. He later retired from the Spokane sheet metal workers union and returned to Oregon, where he has lived the past 20 years in Milton-Freewater and Pendleton.
He collected, worked on, drove and traded approximately 20 Studebaker automobiles during his lifetime and was instrumental in starting the Spokane chapter of the Studebaker Club. In addition, Sheely has enjoyed outdoor activities, including fishing, hunting and camping. His hunting experiences includes shooting several elk in the Enterprise area.
In July, Sheelys brother and three sisters all in their 80s came to