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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, left, greets the Rev. Robert Traub during a Mass honoring the priest’s 100th birthday at the downtown Cathedral.

Diocese’s eldest marks a century

Secret to longevity: Don’t weigh much and never exercise

When the Rev. Robert Traub was born, Pius X was pope and Woodrow Wilson was president.

“I’m not saying that to make him feel old,” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades said at a special Mass held Friday to mark Traub’s 100th birthday. It’s just history.

Traub was the first of nine children, born in 1913 in Muncie. “As he was the eldest child in his family, he is now the eldest priest in the diocese, and he may be the eldest priest in the history of the diocese,” Rhoades said.

“I didn’t want to have a private celebration” to mark the day, Rhoades said, “but a public celebration to pray for you.”

Traub was ordained as a priest June 3, 1939, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the same place where his birthday was celebrated Friday. Through his career he served in eight different parishes as a teacher and priest.

He retired in 1978 but continued in residence at St. Jude Church for nearly 20 years after that.

He is now a resident at St. Anne Home, where he says Mass and hears confessions.

“The Lord has been his help and hope throughout his life,” Rhoades said. “The Lord has sustained him. The Lord sustains all of us.”

Near the end of the Mass, Traub thanked those who prepared the celebration.

“I’m very grateful for all you’ve done for me and the community,” he told the bishop.

At a luncheon with priests afterward, Traub, still quick on his feet even though he is 100, cut his birthday cake before digging into lunch.

After the priests in attendance sang him a hearty happy birthday, one priest asked Traub how to live to be 100.

“Diet,” he said. “Don’t weigh much, and I guess what’s in your genes or whatever they call it.”

Asked whether exercise was important, he replied firmly, “Never.”