In 1905, the Detroit Tigers had only been around five years, Teddy Roosevelt was president, the Wright brothers took flight and Roy Glass was born in the small town of Hartland in New Brunswick, Canada. Since then, the Tigers have won four World Series and 11 American League pennants, there have been 18 more presidents, we’ve traveled to the moon and beyond and Highland resident Roy Glass has been around for all of it. The 107-year-old Glass came to the United States in 1922 to start a new life in the automotive industry.
“I’m an old farm boy,” Glass said. “We had everything, horses, cows, hens, sheep and calves. We had 150 acres with 50 in woodland.”
Glass came to Royal Oak with his brother and they eventually built a house on Vermont Avenue. There he tried, unsuccessfully, to get into the auto industry but did manage to catch on with DTE for the next 41 years after getting through the depression with an array of jobs.
“My barber was from Canada, same place I was, and he worked for Detroit Edison for a while and he said Edison was hiring,” Glass said.
Glass turned down a Linesman job where he had to “be up the pole in the wintertime and be up that pole in the summertime” and found his way to the truck cab to be a driver.
Glass lives with his youngest daughter, Sharon Martin. Glass spends his days cheering for the Tigers. He is a little limited with some vision and hearing issues but he takes part in everyday life, just as he has for the past century. And what is his secret to living such a long life?
“I just take it a day at a time,” he said. “I like to be outside.”
And he was part of a new fad long before it was a fad.
“He ate organic vegetables long before they were the rage,” Martin said. “He had a big, huge garden.”
Since retiring in the early 1970s, Glass traveled a bit with his late wife, Lois, and has served the community as a member of the board of the Highland Senior Center and enjoyed his garden. Lois passed away in 2004 at the age of 94 due to a heart condition. They had been married 76 years.
A huge Tiger fan, Glass has spent plenty of time at old Tiger Stadium but now keeps his radio tuned in to each and every Tigers broadcast. When he turned 100, he got an autographed letter from Ernie Harwell – a rarity – and plenty of recognition from the team. And his favorite Tiger player.
“Inge – third baseman. He couldn’t hit but he was a good third baseman,” Glass said.
Glass played baseball with “a roll of yarn” and “our bat was cut out of wood ourselves” but fancied himself a pretty good pitcher. Oh, he’s a righty and is available for the bullpen if needed, Mr. Illitch.