GUSTINE - Family members gathered Sunday to celebrate the 100th birthday of local resident Arthur Camboia Sr.
Camboia turned 100 on Feb. 4.
Longevity runs in the family, Camboia told Mattos Newspapers, as three siblings lived into their 90s.
His secrets to a long life, Camboia said, include growing his own food and avoiding stress.
According to a biography provided by his family, Camboia was born in New Bedford, Mass., to Manuel and Maria Camboia, the third of nine children. It was during the Great Depression that the family went back to the Azores island of Sao Miguel.
Camboia returned to the United States in the early 1940s. He made the journey on a cargo ship with two other men, who at one point decided to sleep on deck because they thought they would be safer if the Germans decided to torpedo the ship. The German U-boats were the reason the cargo ship docked in Massachusetts instead of New York.
On the same ship was Amelia Medeiros Pimentel, who would eventually become his wife in 1943.
They settled in Fall River, Mass., where he got a job delivering bread and she worked in a textile factory. Their first child, Arthur Jr., was born in 1945, followed by a second son, David, in 1948.
In 1949, the family moved across the country to California, where Amelia’s sister Hazel was living in the Sunnyvale/Milpitas area. Camboia provided for his family by working on various dairies until he had the opportunity to have his own small dairy in Gustine. Around that time, their daughter Elsie was born.
By 1972, Camboia sold his dairy and decided to move to town. He took on a job feeding cows for Simon Newman. He retired from there in the mid-1980s, and filled his tiem growing fruits and vegetables and enjoying dances at the Portuguese festas.
“It is his dancing that he is most famous for,” family members reported in the biography. “Even in his 90s he needed at least three dance partners to keep up with him.”
In addition to his three children, he has eight grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.