WORCESTER — Meadowood resident Paul Felton reached an important milestone last month: He turned 100 years old.
That wasn't his only milestone. Felton was the first executive director of the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, a position he held from 1959-1963.
“Watershed associations were very popular, and they still are for that matter,” he said. “All these organizations I worked for are going great guns right now, more and more so than ever before.”
Felton said he was always passionate about the outdoors and never wanted to work inside four walls.
Born in 1920 in Wilkes-Barre, he worked his way through college and received a bachelor of science degree in forestry from Penn State in 1942.
After graduation, Felton worked for the U.S. Geological Survey as a photogrammetric engineer. Then he left the East Coast for Washington state’s Mount Baker National Forest to serve as a timber forest manager.
“I’m a floater. I love to change,” he said.
Throughout his career, he also became a member and held leadership positions within several organizations including the Society of American Foresters and the Mid-Atlantic Council of Watershed Associations.
He has had nearly 20 articles published and he edited multiple newsletters, according to Felton’s resume.
One of his career insights, he noted, was that community relations is a big part of the job. He came to realize that his “jobs were not all wood or trees, they’re people.”
“If you can’t get the people with you, you don’t have anything,” he said. “You can’t do anything, and that’s what we tried to do to get them interested enough.”
Throughout his time living and working in Montgomery County, Felton said he’s noticed a change with the development throughout the area.
Felton said he retired when he was 70 years old. He and his wife, Anna, later moved to Meadowood, a senior living facility in Worcester Township in the 1990s. They were married for 65 years and had two children. She died in 2008.
Felton has since become an active participant on the Meadowood Woods and Trails Committee. He has worked on several projects including organizing wellness walks, Arbor Day tree plantings and the development of the Meadowood Nature Preserve.
As for his secret to longevity, Felton said his doctor instructed him to maintain his routine.
“He said, ‘Paul, just keep doing what you're doing, and keep breathing!’” Felton exclaimed.