Arthur Cook Almy was not particularly impressed with his age although it prompted no less than two U.S. presidents to send him birthday greetings. Mr. Almy, who would Have been 105 in July, died Sunday of natural causes at Leewood Nursing Home in Annandale.
On his 100th birthday Mr. Almy received a birthday card from former president Richard Nixon. On his 104th birthday, President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter sent him a card embossed in gold with the presidential seal that read. "Have special joy on this day, and a full measure of health and happinesss in the coming year."
Mr. Almy said such acknowledgements were "all right," but added that he understood he had received them only because he had lived longer than most people.
When asked about presidents in general, Mr. Almy, who was born in 1897, used to say. "There were so many of them," but Grover Cleveland was his favorite. Cleveland left the White House in 1897, and since then, according to Mr. Almy, none of the presidents have been leaders.
He didn't like to discuss his age, his son Merwin said, and he didn't "want to bother people with advice" on how to achieve longevity. According to Veda Almy, his daughter-in-law, "He never lived in the past. He was a real positive thinker." In addition, he never smoked or drank. "Before it became a fad, he had been health and nutrition-conscious," she said.
Mr. Almy was a bicycle racer in his 20s. He had ice skated in his 70s and continued to play shuffleboard until he reached 100. According to his son, he regularly beat other people in their 70s at shuffleboard and referred to them as "the old fellows."
Mr. Almy was born in Smithfield, R.I. He later moved to Cleveland, where he sold Fuller brushes and Hoover vacuum cleaners. When he retired in 1947, at age 74, he and his wife moved to Florida. The Almys had celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary before Mrs. Almy died in 1974.
Because of failing eyesight and loss of hearing, Mr. Almy moved to Washington after his wife's death.
In addition to his son, Merwin, of Springfield, Va., survivors include a grandchild and a great-grandchild.