Navy veteran Clarence Fite recently celebrated his 99th birthday. Looking back on his life, you might be surprised to learn that he originally planned on being a horse jockey. Born in Ohio, Fite was the oldest of four boys in his family. After a youth spent helping his family on the farm, Fite took a trip to Kentucky.
It was in the Bluegrass state that Fite visited Bailey’s Kentucky horse park to become a jockey. Only problem? His size. A trainer took one look at Fite and broke the news that he would just be too big to ride.
After that he decided to join the Navy, and he was accepted… eventually. When Fite first attempted to join he was rejected due to flat feet. He tried again and was accepted into the Army. Both Fite and a buddy of his decided just before boot camp to go to the Navy. Later, he was on a ship and his captain learned Fite was actually AWOL from the Army.
“Well,” the captain said, “we have you now.”
In the Navy Fite was an engine operator in the boiler room on ship. After serving his country he returned home and began working at Ford.
He met his wife at a dance in Ohio in his youth. The two decided to get married only two days before he left for boot camp. The couple would go on to have seven children together.
After retiring from Ford, Fite settled from Ohio to Florida. Here he enjoys spending his time playing cards and fishing.