Harold Gastwirth, who celebrated his 105th birthday Dec. 26, may be the oldest Cubs fan who was born, was bred and made his living for many years in Chicago.
He has been a resident of Sun City Summerlin since 1998; although Ann, his wife of 69 years, passed away in 2001.
When it comes to the Cubs, Harold’s heart will always belong to the Windy City. And that’s understandable when you consider he was born three years after the Cubs of 1908 won their last World Series — until Nov. 2 , of course, when they beat the Cleveland Indians in the seventh game.
But that’s getting ahead of the story for a fan who stayed up late to watch every inning of the World Series while faithfully wearing his Cubs cap.
“I’ve always been a proud Cubs fan, but I’ve been waiting for so long to see them win a World Series,” he said.
“That’s the way it was growing up in Chicago,” chimed in Harold’s son Bruce, who lives with his father in Sun City. “I waited year after year as well, but of course not nearly as long as my dad.”
“I’ll let you in on a secret,” Harold said. “When I was in the sixth or seventh grade, I used to make deliveries for my father on my bicycle, but then I started going to the ballpark instead, to watch the Cubs play. When my mother found out about it, she got angry and took my bike away.”
Harold noted that his father, Max, was a tailor who custom-designed suits.
“We lived near a big church, and my father hand-made suits for all the priests,” said Harold, who is Jewish.
He explained that his father served as the major influence in his becoming a manufacturer of clothing, and in particular women’s apparel. Gastwirth eventually specialized in the manufacture of panties.
Harold recalled that his business prospered to the point that he built his own manufacturing plant in Chicago.
What appeared to be retirement in 1974, to be with two of his three sons and their families in Atlanta, was anything but.
“I had to stay busy. I just couldn’t turn it off,” Harold said. So he became a stocks and commodities broker and later joined Bruce and another son, Loren, in an investment business.
After a second career that spanned 15 years, Harold retired again, this time to Los Angeles in 1989, again following members of his family.
“Nine years later I came to Las Vegas, still looking to stay busy,” he said.
In addition to hoping the day would come when he would see the Cubs win a World Series, Harold has kept a sharp mind by playing cards with friends, reading and staying in touch with his sons, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
“OK, the Cubs finally won the World Series in 2016. Now I’m looking for them to win it again,” he said with a big smile.
Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is now available. Contact him at email@example.com.