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Gov. John Lynch extends good wishes to Conwell “Deke” Abbott at Abbott’s party for his 103rd birthday at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton on Monday. (Courtesy)

Birthday greetings to veteran at 103

TILTON — Conwell 'Deke' Abbott knows a lot about life, and a lot about birthdays, having just marked his 103rd.

The World War II Air Force veteran was honored as the New Hampshire Veterans Home's oldest resident Monday with a birthday party and a visit from Gov. John Lynch.

He wasn't terribly excited about celebrating his birthday, he said. He has trouble hearing, and he's without his dear wife of 57 years, Francis, who died about 10 years ago.

Before he moved to the veterans' home a few years ago, he lived in a condominium in Windham, which he and his wife once shared. Abbott said he was pleased and honored by the visit from Lynch, who brought him an official commendation.

'He's quite a guy,' Abbott said. 'It was nice of him to come.'

Abbott graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a bachelor's of science degree, having studied math, physics, English and economics.

He enlisted and served as a master sergeant in Scotland from 1941 to 1945, making sure the supplies went through to the front.

He married Francis after proposing to her on the top of the Empire State Building in New York City on June 25, 1947. At the time, he worked in advertising in New York City, he said.

He spent his later years traveling the country with his wife and two children, he said.

He's very proud of having served his country in Europe. In fact, he was ready to serve in the Pacific Theater, but never got there.

'I was ready, and I was on my way,' he said. 'But then they dropped the bomb on Japan, and I wasn't needed.'

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Dan Seufert may be reached at