Former Yakima man: 'Oh boy, I've seen the world change'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Leroy Fairchild calls himself a "satisfied old man."

At 98, the World War II veteran has seen the world change more than once.

"Oh boy, I've seen the world change," Fairchild said. "The world is just what you make it, and if you're happy with it, then you're happy; and if you're not, you're not."

Born in November 1914, he's lived in 10 different decades; lived through four major wars and fought in one; and seen 16 presidents hold office, although he said he's done voting.

"I don't feel like I want to vote anymore," he said. "I'm too old. I don't want to force my judgment on younger people. I want them to do their own thing."

In his life, he has seen over 15 economic recessions - but only been on a plane once in the late 1990s, to visit his son in Texas.

"Flying is alright, I have nothing against it, but I aint going do it," he said. "If the Good Lord would of made us fly I'd find wings out here see, and I'd just go floating around - but he didn't put any wings on me, did he?"

He's lived all over the Northwest, and in his life he was a cattle rancher, a logger, a dairy farmer - and his favorite: an RV explorer. His youngest son is almost old enough now to retire, he said.

Born in Montana, he recalls being kicked out of school as a child for hitting a teacher.

"I started out just like any kid does," he said. "I had quite a time in school: I popped a teacher once and got thrown out, so that took care of the schooling."

He cowboyed on ranches and worked in the woods in Idaho. He lived in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, for more than 30 years.

"I was a logger," he said. "Any time you're a logger, you're a hard worker, and that's that."

He worked in irrigation in Yakima, Wash.

Twenty years, he moved to Springfield to be closer to family. He now lives in Eugene.

"It ain't how happy you can be, it's how satisfied you are," he said. "I sleep good at night and I sleep good in the day time, so I'm pretty satisfied."

So how does it feel to be 98?

"Old," he said. "It's just plain old."