Brennity’s oldest resident credits humor for long life

Armond Ripell cuts his own cake at his 101st birthday party.

Armond Ripell believes humor is the main reason he’s lived a long life.

The 101-year-old resident of The Brennity at Melbourne Senior Living got to celebrate his birthday with friends and staff on April 22 at the Viera facility.

“Make sure you have some humor every day and don’t be afraid to laugh,” said Ripell, who is affectionately known to friends and staff as “RIP.”

“I’ve lived a very good life and I’m proud of what I’ve done, especially with my military career.”

Born April 22, 1920 to Ann Marie and Dr. Wilfred Ripell in Wisconsin, Ripell served in the military for 23 years, retiring from the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in 1985. During his military career, Ripell worked as a civil engineer, and was involved in the building of several Air Force bases.

“I thought what I did in the service was effective and important,” he said.

A graduate of Carroll College (now Carroll University) in Waukesha, Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1941, Ripell also worked for 10 years as director of management services for the Wisconsin Economic and Housing Development Authority. He retired from that agency in 1985.

“I was responsible for where the houses were built in Wisconsin,” he said. “We made sure they lived right.”

Jennifer Reed, the lifestyle director at The Brennity, said Ripell is the facility’s oldest resident. He arrived in January 2013.

One of five brothers and sisters, Ripell is the lone surviving member of his family. He does have 23 nephews and nieces.

“He told his relatives not to come because of COVID-19,” Reed said. “He thought it was too dangerous for them to travel.”

Reed said The Brennity likes to celebrate monumental birthdays for its residents. “We do our best to make it a special occasion.”