BEDFORD — This Veterans Day, Judge Arthur Bean plans to embrace his 100th birthday — a milestone that he says was only reached because of pure luck.
As a former Superior Court judge and New Hampshire’s former assistant attorney general, Bean says his life has been filled with many unique experiences. While some of them have been grand and enjoyable, others have been heartbreaking and painful, he explained.
But through it all, Bean’s closest friends say it is optimism and positivity that got him to where he is today.
“I don’t really know what 100 feels like yet,” joked Bean, a Deerfield resident who celebrated his 100th birthday two days early at Manchester Country Club where he has been a member for 43 years.
When asked what his secret to longevity is, Bean said, “The only thing you have got to be is lucky. I always think I was lucky.”
Bean, as a bomber pilot in World War II, said he frequently encountered horrific and sometimes tragic situations while flying in Germany. Those who survived the war were considered the fortunate ones, according to Bean, who said he often reflects on his war days wondering how he was able to remain alive to see 100.
Those recollections are not easily forgotten, he said, explaining he went from cadet to a colonel in a short amount of time.
After the war, Bean entered the Reserves where he remained until 1970. He also opened the historic Robin’s Nest Restaurant in northern New Hampshire with his father while attending law school.
He later served as New Hampshire’s assistant attorney general for six years before opening up his own law office and eventually becoming a Superior Court judge, often sitting in Rockingham, Hillsborough and Merrimack County superior courts.
When Bean turned 70, he was forced to retire as a judge, but said he didn’t let that hold him back. He was the first retired judge in New Hampshire to work as a mediator within the court system.
“He just has a grasp at life, and he is extremely positive,” Bob Cushman said of his good friend and golfing partner, Bean. “There is never a negative thought in his mind, and I think that has propelled him to where he is today.”
The Manchester Country Club has become Bean’s second home — a place where he still enjoys playing golf and grabbing lunch about once a week.
“He is older than our club,” said Joelle Creamer, clubhouse manager, noting that the Manchester Country Club has been around for 95 years.
Bean is also the club’s oldest member. Bean said he can no longer play 18 holes on the golf course, but he stills feels very accomplished after completing a round of nine holes.
“He is always so upbeat and happy to be here. He is not only very personable, but very friendly as well,” Pam Comstock, a hostess at the club, said of the birthday boy.
Another golfing buddy, Gordon Gilroy, shares the same birthday as Bean. Gilroy will turn 94 on Sunday. Together, Bean, Gilroy and Cushman say they continue to make the most of their time on the course, despite their challenges associated with aging. “It is all about the life experiences, and Arthur’s life experiences are truly amazing,” said Cushman.