Adding the Numbers: Retired Shawnee accountant counts up 100 years and many adventures

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Data pix.

OKLAHOMA CITY - He collects numbers and memories together.

Cecil Nelon organizes them in a daily ledger that stretches back decades.

"I keep track of all the things I do every day," he said.

Among the numbers: one hour.

That's how early he used to wake up before his family and schoolmates just to run outside.

"Just excess energy," he said. "I just liked to run."

This is the kid who liked going to the grocery store for very different reasons than his friends.

The numbers in the budget didn't add up to college, but loading grain and painting oil tanks earned him tuition at the Cheatham Business School in Shawnee.

He had a low draft number before World War II.

Because he could type, the Navy numbers added up best.

"A 2nd Class Petty Officer got $72 a month instead of $21 a month (for an infantryman)," Nelon said. "I signed up on the spot."

He spent the war as a store keeper on the USS Pensacola which sounds kind of boring unless you count the battles like Midway and Guadalcanal, or the torpedo they took off the island of Kure.

Accounting for supplies often took a back seat in those days.

Cecil did play a little baseball.

He spent some time in the minor leagues, but the averages didn't work out.

Besides, he'd met a girl at business school.

He bought a house and became an accountant, of course.

"I always enjoyed numbers," he said.

"You were born to be an accountant," said a visitor to his home.

"I was born to it," he said.

Cecil can count his life in all kinds of different ways.

48 years in business, 68 years of marriage and, at the time of this interview, "100 years, one month, and three days."

He's still adding the numbers.

After all, a man without equal is always the one man you can really count on.

Nelon lives in the Statesman Retirement Center in The Village these days.

He reads three different papers every day.

His ledger includes stock quotes, sun cycles, oil prices and daily activities.

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