Columbus veteran celebrates his 99th birthday

Published 11:59 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

COLUMBUS— Robert Holycross Sr., a World War II veteran and longtime resident of Columbus, celebrated his 99th birthday last week.

Holycross has volunteered at St. Luke’s Hospital for two decades and is a member of Polk County VFW Post 9116, where he serves as a trustee.

Despite his age, Holycross still finds time to work at the Ingles grocery store in Landrum at least once a week. His dependability and positive attitude has made him a beloved store team member.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“He’s excellent with the customers and his co-workers,” said Ingles Manager Chris Phillips. “He just keeps active, which I’m sure has to be one of his secrets to living such a long, healthy life.” 

Holycross credits his longevity to staying active and working, which he says is his hobby.

 “After serving in WW2, I figured every day was a blessing,” he said. “And I’m glad to have the opportunity to work whether volunteering at St. Luke’s or the grocery store.”

Originally from Indiana, Holycross moved to Columbus over 20 years ago with his wife Barbara, who passed away in 2021. He has three children and several grandchildren.

Holycross was scheduled to be the Grand Marshall of the Columbus Veterans Day parade, but it was rained out this year. However, he was surprisingly not disappointed. 

“The rain let me keep my streak intact,” he said. “ I’ve walked in the last twenty parades, and if I’d ridden in a car, that would have broken my streak.”

Holycross’s positive attitude and work ethic have earned him admiration and respect from his colleagues and friends.