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WWII veteran turns 100 years young

David Barber was recognized in the UT vs. Ole Miss football game Saturday night.

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — World War II veteran and University of Tennessee graduate David Barber turned 100 years old on Saturday when UT faced Ole Miss in Neyland Stadium.

He is now the same age as the stadium itself, and so he was honored and recognized in Saturday's UT vs. Ole Miss football game. Being a century old, he said he doesn't feel any different. 

"I should feel old I guess but I don't," Barber said.

The Knoxville native has experienced a lot in his lifetime. He said that he was in the Marines from 1942 through 1946, during World War II. And during his time in the military, he met his beloved wife.

"We were married for 65 years," Barber said.

After getting out of the service, both Barber and his wife found their way back to Rocky Top. Both of them went to UT and graduated together the same year.

In Barber's 100 years, his journey would take him to an athletic director position in Florida, sheriff in Sevier County and volunteer at a hospital — among many other things.

Through it all, Barber's family has been by his side. He has a daughter who lives in Georgia and another daughter and son who live in Middle Tennessee.

Along the way, Barber also met his best friend Doug Michael.

"It's just such a blessing to know David and see him these years and get to 100 years old," Michael said. "There are so many memories. It is hard to pick a favorite one, it really is."

Barber and Michael met when they both volunteered in the hospital together and have been inseparable since then. Michael called his best friend an inspiration, someone who just kept on going.

"I try to find something to keep me busy because I have always been that way," Barber said.

Living an entire century, Barber said his biggest advice is to be there for one another and give a helping hand no matter what.

"I think we need to be helpful to our neighbors and do what we can to help other people," Barber said.