1912: It was the year the Titantic sank, the year the traffic light was invented and the year Woodrow Wilson was elected president.
This year marks the 100th anniversary for all of these events, and Duncansville native Cloyd Neely had another anniversary circled and starred on his calendar.
Neely was born in 1912 and on Aug. 22, rang in his 100th birthday.
Cloyd Neely holds copies of wedding announcements from Blair, Cambria, Huntingdon and Bedford counties from 1942.
Attributing many factors to Father Time's generosity over the years, Neely claims part of the secret to living a long and fruitful life involves keeping the mind active.
"These guys sit around and mope all day. They sit in their rocking chairs," Neely said, referring to people of retirement age. "I started volunteering, and I'm busy doing something all the time. It keeps my mind going."
Neely's kitchen table holds evident as to just how much volunteer work it takes to keep his mind sharp.
The Neely file
Name: Cloyd Neely
Education: Hollidaysburg Area High School, 1931; received teaching certificate from Penn State Altoona, 1965.
Family: late wife, Pauline; daughter; and late son
More than 200 pages of local wedding announcements from 1942 sit in a neat pile on the edge of the round table.
It's a project for the Blair County Genealogical Society, and Neely's responsibility is to cut out the announcements and alphabetize each one by surname.
Because most of the announcements have vague headlines like "Soldier marries sweetheart" or "Girlfriend says 'I Do,'" Neely must scour each column searching for the groom's last name and the bride's maiden name in order to appropriately alphabetize them.
After all is said and done, he must then paste the announcements on sheets of 8-by-11 paper to later be bound in a book for the society.
"It is a lot of work, but it keeps me out of trouble," said Neely, laughing.
Neely, a well-known historian in his town, claims that his fascination with history came at a relatively young age.
"In high school, I took all the history I could get. I was just enthused with history, both the modern and ancient," he said. "In fact, I was the best history student in the class. It seemed to come to me easily, very easily."
His love for history is what pushed him to begin the Duncansville Historical Society, where he served as president until 2011.
"I know everything that ever happened in Duncansville, and I have written down most all of it," said Neely, who has had several books published by the historical society. "I have dates of everything that happened in Duncansville from the day it was first discovered to the last four or five years."
But Neely's life also ran along the same timeline of some of the most tragic events that the U.S. has ever faced.
And Neely remembers every detail of that, too.
"The thing I remember mostly is the Great Depression, because it was so tough on people, and people were having a terrible time getting food. They couldn't get work because there wasn't any work available," Neely said. "Some families went hungry. Many of them lost their homes. Many of them committed suicide. It was nothing to pick up the [newspaper] and read that somebody you knew just couldn't take it any longer."
His family wasn't left unscathed by the economic turmoil, either.
Neely's father, an Altoona railroad worker, was one of 10,000 out of the 11,000 employed to see a dramatic cut in their workload during the Depression.
But the family ended up making it through the tough times and tight budget without ever seeking aid from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Emergency Relief Fund.
"The union decided that they would not lay anyone off but divide what work was available among everyone," said Neely, adding that his father came out with one or two days of work a week.
In 1927, Neely began working for his grandpa's painting business, which took on jobs such as painting houses, churches and other types of buildings. Eventually, Neely took over the business and continued working until he retired at age 65.
But the notoriously quiet retirement life didn't sit well with Neely, and he soon opened a furniture repair and restoration business to keep himself busy.
"That was the best time of my life, I believe," he said.
Aside from doing handiwork, volunteering and doing research, Neely serves as a historian and devout member of the Hicks United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Rich Morris, who has served as pastor of the church for more than a decade, said Neely embodies what the town represents.
"The town has always had an emphasize on history, and Cloyd [Neely] has been at the center of keeping the history of the town and remembering how things were and how thing have changed," Morris said.
A sense of adventure also seems to come with the territory of this historian.
"There's a lot of things in this world to see," said Neely, who has traveled to France, England and Hawaii with his late wife, Pauline. "We went to all the places that had any historical value."
Despite his eccentric trips across oceans, Neely is only a hop, skip and jump away from one of his favorite places to visit: the Gettysburg Battlefield.
"We went to Gettysburg every summer for a couple days. I'm about the only guy living who had some good friends who were veterans of the Civil War. I talked to those guys, and that got me interested in Civil War history," said Neely, who specializes in the subject.
With his 100th birthday in the books, Neely said he is perfectly content with all that he's accomplished.
"I have had a very successful life. I've had a good life. I've had a good family and good friends, and I'm 100 years old," said Neely, sitting back in his armchair to emphasize his point that he's more than ready to relax.
With a century's worth of wisdom behind him, Neely said there's only one piece of advice he would like to pass along.
"Don't worry about things, because things will happen," said Neely. "You know the French song 'Que Sera Sera?' What will be, will be."