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Posted: Monday, November 26, 2018 1:52 pm | Updated: 1:53 pm, Mon Nov 26, 2018.

Vernon “Vern” Gould has lived nearly a century and has not wasted a minute of it. At age 98, he has a long list of accolades and stories to share.

Gould authored his own book about his life, entitled “Limited Choices,” centered around his time spent in World War II. He also played a big role in helping to put Apollo Space flights and the Challenger into orbit by building parts for these systems when he worked at Honeywell Aerospace.

“I remember my father reading the Sunday paper one day and laughing,” said Gould. “Because the paper said man would fly to the moon one day.”

When Gould was just ten years of age, he built a motorcycle. His love for building and restoring motors led him to winning National Car Shows. Two of his favorites were a 1955 Thunderbird and a 1975 Mercedes.

He also built a Mustang “from scratch,” as he calls it. “I‘ve been a Ford man ever since I watched Dad work on his model-T,” said Gould. “I’ve restored 167 cars and about 29 motorcycles.”

Another job he had was working at a machine shop in St. Petersburg, Florida, that had a contract with IBM. “My job was to design tools for IBM. When you work for IBM, there is a high level of standard that must be met,” said Gould. “There is zero room for imperfections.”

“I’ve seen many shocking things over my lifetime, one was the bread lines in New York during the depression,” said Gould. “One-hundred people would be standing in line, in the rain, just hoping for something to eat.”

“But what has been the most shocking thing to me over my years is the decline of the family unit.” Gould is father to six, grandfather to 14 and great-grandfather to five.

The Gould’s came to Fort Payne to care for an elderly aunt whose children had all passed and decided to stay after she passed away.

Vern’s Motto: “A man’s word should be his bond.”

— Marla Ballard’s Who’s Who appears each Tuesday.

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