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World War II veteran keeps the music going at 100

Ted Piskos plays the ukulele in not just one, but two St. Louis-area ukulele bands.

ST. LOUIS — Music doesn't have an expiration date. And neither do some musicians.

At the afternoon practice for the Funshine Strummers, a St. Louis area Ukulele band, it was clear that Ted Piskos hasn't lost his rhythm.

Which surprises some people when they find out his age.

"I'm a hundred and about six months," he told 5 On Your Side.

The soundtrack of his early life was actually a violin. "I took lessons for about three years until I thought I was pretty good," recalls Piskos. "And then in high school I joined the orchestra."  

But soon after, he traded in Beethoven for B-29's. During World War II, he was trained as a radar operator and served in the Pacific Theater on Saipan. 

As part of the ground crew for B-29's, the state of the art bomber of it's time, he got to know some of the young pilots.

"And I became closest friend from one gentleman from kid from Chicago," remembers Piskos. "And he didn't come back. And that was a bad thing."

Not long after coming home, he went to work in tool design for defense contractor, McDonnell-Douglas.

"I worked till I was 72-and-a-half.  And, I hated the day I quit,"  Piskos said.

But the old songs were like old friends and music came calling again.

These days, he plays the bass ukulele with the Funshine Strummers. The band consists of six women, and Piskos. 

"And he's still learning," Walt Richmond, the husband of a bandmate said. "My wife will get an email from him that he was at midnight, looking at a YouTube video on how to perform this song that they've been working on."

 Piskos is also part of the St. Louis Ukulele Group that performs at churches and assisted living facilities.

"He really is a happy person, but he's also very shy," Richmond said. "He doesn't wanna recognize himself as being a performer or a vet."

"People always say, 'well, what's your secret?' The only thing I can think of is, as the old song says 'Stay away from bootleg hooch and don't date college girls!'" Piskos said, while laughing.

A veteran, a musician and a centenarian. Ted Piskos showing us all that life is like a musical instrument. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.

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