I’m sorry to report that my Uncle Pat McGlothin has died. He was within three days of reaching his 94th birthday. His goal was to live to be 100, but he couldn’t quite make it.
Pat was a tall man. He was on the famed Brooklyn Dodgers teams of ’49 and ’50, so his stats – which are listed all around the Internet – show him to be 6’3”. He was much taller actually, 6’6”, which increased his chances for cancer and decreased his life expectancy (see The tall don’t always die young!).
In fact, a white male who lives in Tennessee (where my uncle lived) has an average life expectancy of between 73 and 74 years. Pat lived much longer (approximately 27%) than average. And much longer than his brothers too, who made it to their early 80s.
Calorie Restriction Prevails
What were the reasons for Pat’s success? Perhaps most important, he followed a calorie-restricted diet all his life. Take a look at this interview when he recalls how it was to play with Jackie Robinson.
While he wasn’t a student of nutrition and ate far too much sugar and meat to be optimally healthy, he did limit his total intake, so his weight never got out of control.
Pat stayed in excellent shape during his baseball career, and he continued both weight lifting and running into his early 80s.
Pat had a positive, loving attitude towards all human beings. He called all his close relatives every evening, and he visited friends and family daily when they were sick.
Pat formed one of east Tennessee’s most successful insurance agencies. He loved the social interaction that makes a business like that run. Even though he could have retired at any time, he chose to work six days a week into his early 90s.
Then he began to make mistakes. The biggest one may have been his choice of physicians. In an attempt to treat him for prostate cancer, his surgeon confused a procedure that caused another operation to be necessary. His doctor also recommended certain supplements, which may increase heart attack risk. Within one month of Pat’s new supplement intake, he had a heart attack. Then everything changed: Pat minimized his exercise – going from challenging daily activities to simple stretching and other calisthenics. At that point, his age-related decline became noticeable. Pat developed hearing difficulties and balance issues. He fell several times, finally breaking a hip, which started his use of a wheelchair. When Pat reached his 90s, he rarely got out of his wheelchair.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Perhaps by knowing about Pat’s life, we can all avoid the mistakes he made. I am proud to have had him as my uncle and hope that I can live as long and as well.