State College

Man honored for recycling impact at 106th birthday party

Dean Tuttle reacts as he sees his birthday cake during his party. Tuttle celebrated his 106th birthday Wednesday at Foxdale Village in State College.
Dean Tuttle reacts as he sees his birthday cake during his party. Tuttle celebrated his 106th birthday Wednesday at Foxdale Village in State College. nmark@centredaily.com

When the cake was all eaten and the punch was gone, there was still little waste left behind after Dean Tuttle’s 106th birthday party.

Tuttle wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Foxdale Village resident for about 20 years, the former banker and enthusiastic pingpong champ was all smiles Wednesday as he was wheeled up to his huge vanilla-on-chocolate birthday cake, with friends, both resident and staff, giving hugs, shaking hands and slipping him birthday cards. Fellow centegenerian Edythe St. Clair, 105, got her good wishes in.

But after they sang “Happy Birthday,” Tuttle got a different kind of present.

Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority showed up with a certificate, paying homage to more than 25 years of trying to keep things from unnecessarily ending up in landfills.

He is really a pioneer of recycling in the area.

Mimi Cooper, Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority

“He is really a pioneer of recycling in the area,” said Mimi Cooper, community recycling coordinator.

When he came to Foxdale Village, there wasn’t much recycling going on.

With Tuttle as a champion, however, efforts grew from simple cans, bottles and paper to something bigger.

Today, the senior living community recycles organic waste, too.

According to Bill Kehler, director of dining services, Tuttle’s party was a very green affair. Everything on the tables, from any leftover fruit and cookies to the cups and plates, was compostable.

“We are working toward zero waste,” he said.

Efforts by Tuttle and others to reduce that impact on the environment is saving more than the planet. Kehler said it’s saving residents about $80,000 a year.

“He’s just amazing,” Kehler said.

But Tuttle, who credits his long life to exercise and good eating, said the honors, and the party, are almost too much.

“It’s too big for me,” said Tuttle, modest about his life and accomplishments. “It wasn’t too hard, and (I) enjoyed practically all of it.”

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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