Neil Coulter, 108, Retired Butcher

Posted: August 24, 1988

Neil Coulter, an Upper Darby butcher who worked long hours, enjoyed quiet time with his family and believed the secret to his longevity was his refusal to worry, died Monday at 108 years of age at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Coulter had started in the food business as a teenager, moving to West Philadelphia from his home town of Milford, Del., and taking a job as a grocery boy. It wasn't long before he found his lifelong work as a butcher - a job he didn't quit until he was 78.

"Years ago, he used to work all week long and come home with 10 or 15

dollars and a couple of pieces of meat," said his son, Richard. "He worked 72 hours a week just to make a living."

The largest part of Mr. Coulter's career - about 30 years - was spent at the old Penn Fruit Co. store on 69th Street in Upper Darby.

But if Mr. Coulter's hours were long, they were offset by simple pleasures at home, his son said.

"It was his family, his work and his church," Richard Coulter said. ''That was his life. . . . He wasn't a saint, but he was a nice fellow. He was a good clean guy of the old type. Everybody always liked him."

Mr. Coulter lived long, not by refraining from what he liked, but rather by never fretting about what happened, he often told his son. He ate eggs and meat without flinching, and after work enjoyed a shot or two of whiskey and a couple of cigars.

Tenacious and slightly built, Mr. Coulter lived on his own - even mowed his lawn regularly - until he was 100 years old.

He prayed a lot, his son said, but often remarked that what kept him alive was his refusal to succumb to tension.

"You could put a bomb under the guy and he would never worry," said his son. "He always said, 'Never worry.' He was never sick. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and he was very easy to get along with."

" . . . The guy was a miracle, there's no doubt about that."

Mr. Coulter was a member of Beverly Hills United Presbyterian Church in Upper Darby, where he lived for about 24 years. Previously, he belonged to St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in West Philadelphia, where he lived for about 60 years.

His wife, Mary E. Bunn Coulter, died in 1974.

Surviving are a son, Richard E.; a grandaughter, and two great-grandsons.

Visitation is at 10 a.m. tomorrow, with services at 11 a.m., at the Frank C. Videon Funeral Home, Sproul and Lawrence Roads in Broomall. Burial is at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill.

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