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Local veteran celebrates 90th birthday

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By Kelsey Schapker

World War II, 19 cruises and seven trips to Hawaii are just some of the life events that Albert Qualls has experienced in his 90 years of existence.

Qualls currently resides at Mount Vernon Nursing and Rehabilitation, and he turned 90-years-old on Sat., June 18. His family held a small gathering and surprised him with the gospel singing group, Trinity Three, as southern gospel is his favorite kind of music. When asked the reason why he enjoys southern gospel, Qualls said because he was in a male gospel quartet in 1943 for a number of years.

Qualls retired from Whirlpool in 1988 after being employed for 33 years. Before that, he served in the United States Air Force and his retiring rank was Corporal.

“After World War II ended, some of the men from my base visited Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines.”

Because he is a veteran, his grandson signed him up for the first Indianapolis Honor Flight in October 2014.The honor flight is a non-profit organization created to honorAmerica's veterans for their sacrifices by transporting the men and women heroes to Washington D.C. to visit memorials.

“My grandson was my escort. We saw the changing of the guard and shook hands with a Medal of Honor recipient. I enjoyed being with other veterans, and visiting the memorial of World War II and the monuments. Then the citizens of Evansville gathered at the airport to welcome us home; that place was mobbed, it was full of people welcoming us home.”

Qualls favorite color is blue, he likes to works crossword puzzles and he is an enormous football fan of the Denver Broncos and Evansville Reitz Panthers. He enjoyed working on his Honda motorcycles and enjoyed repairing cars and piddling around in his garage.

“I have so many good memories, but some of my favorites are the first man landing on the moon in 1969; my grandson, Seth, playing football at Franklin College; and the trips to Hawaii with my wife. My wife was a good cook, and I never drank or smoke,” Qualls explained on his secret to living to age 90.

Qualls married his wife, Dorothy, in November 1944. The two raised their three children, Patti, Larry and Ken, in Evansville. Qualls is originally from Arizona but his parents moved to the Tri-State area when he was a child.

Qualls and Dorothy were married for 71 years before Dorothy passed away.

“For our 70th wedding anniversary party I was in the hospital, but my grandson set up Skype and my family was able to come talk to me through a computer. That was really something. My favorite memories with Dorothy are our travels. We traveled to Hawaii seven times, as well as Spain, England and Germany. She hated being on an airplane.”

Qualls has one sister, Sharon Odell, six grandkids and five great-grandkids.