AN EAGLEHAWK man will celebrate a massive milestone this week.
Harold 'Wicky' Toma turns 104 on Tuesday.
It's a special occasion that will be marked by much of his beloved family from a distance this year due to COVID-19. But daughter Judy Toma said the day would still be special, because Mr Toma was such a special dad, much loved by his family.
Mr Toma has five children, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and even a young great-great-grandchild.
He still lives at home.
Born in Sailors Gully, Mr Toma moved to the Borough with his family aged 13. He has lived there ever since, apart from two years spent in the army during World War II. He worked in his father's eucalyptus distillery, then at the Bendigo Timber Company.
Mr Toma was one of seven siblings, with long-lived genes. His younger sister Muriel Kelly celebrated her 102nd birthday in July. Another sister lived into her 101st year.
Miss Toma said her father was still really switched on and interested in the world.
"He knows everything that's going on. I say to him, 'How do you know so much Dad when you can't see the television, and you can't read the paper?'," she said.
Miss Toma said her father loved sport all his life, especially football and cricket.
He played three premiership sides with Eaglehawk, coaching them to premiership in 1946. He then umpired for 10 years after a back injury in 1947.
He still follows the football, barracking for Geelong.
Miss Toma said her father found great comfort in going to church every Sunday when services were still running.
Unable to meet together, Mr Toma's family have made an video of messages for his birthday. They hope to do a family video conference later in the week.
Miss Toma can remember her father as very hard working but also hands-on.
She said his biggest asset was his family, who he loved.
"We couldn't have had a better dad, we love him to bits, and all his grandchildren," she said.
"We all get together at Christmas and Easter, even though we're all miles apart. And Dad has all these people staying at his house over Christmas and new year.
"With his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, we're always having different family occasions which he loves, and that's what keeps him going."
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