Harry Titus is living proof that you’re never too old to learn. MiraCosta College’s oldest student turned 99 on November 15.
“It gives me something to do,” quipped Titus, who was born when Woodrow Wilson was in the White House. “At my age, if you don’t stay active, you wither away.”
Titus is enrolled in a pair of noncredit courses at MiraCosta College’s Community Learning Center, The Impact of Radio on Our Lives and Self-Awareness Through Improvisation. Both of the psychology courses are taught by Sherri Allen and both are aimed at older adults.
“Age is just a number,” said Allen. “You would never in a million years guess that he is as old as he is. Harry is just an absolute joy who has a charming, effervescent personality.”
The son of a Vaudeville entertainer, Titus flew U.S. Navy airships conducting anti-submarine warfare operations during World War II and is retired from his military career as an Army National Guard lieutenant. A resident of Oceanside, Titus served as a senior volunteer for the city police department for 13 years before hanging up his badge at the age of 95.
Allen met Titus in her Impact of Radio on Our Lives course last year. The noncredit, tuition-free class is aimed at older adults who lived before the proliferation of television and have a special connection to radio. Students discuss and analyze the impact of radio on their lives, and the class offers them a chance to recreate and perform classic shows, using the actual scripts that were written during the Golden Age of radio.
His other class, Self-Awareness Through Improvisation, covers character development, storytelling, readings and interactive games with an audience.
“He’s a great performer on stage,” said Allen. “And he’s hilariously funny.”
Titus has plenty of material to draw from. Titusville, Fla., is named after his great grandfather Henry Titus, and Titus has four children, six grandchildren, and too many great grandchildren to count.
“He has a vigor for life, an optimistic outlook on everything, and that’s really what keeps him going,” said Kirk Titus, who is caring for his father while Harry recovers from a recent fall. “He’s not afraid to laugh at his own difficulties instead of being frustrated by them.”