ROCHELLE — Bert Cote eats breakfast with friends at Rochelle Pharmacy nearly every day.
So, his 100th birthday started Wednesday as any other day would. The World War II veteran did have some cake and singing that morning, though.
Some of the non-happy birthday singing was done by Cote himself. On occasion, he regales his friends with songs he’s learned over the years. He also plays the harmonica.
Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows also attended Wednesday’s festivities and wished Cote a happy birthday.
Cote served in Germany under General Patton. He was among the first American troops that went into Berlin. He’s also a Gold Star family member.
Cote was three years old when he and his family moved to Rochelle from Quebec, Canada. He had 16 siblings and has lived in Rochelle for 97 years. He was a plumber for many years in town. He attends mass every morning.
Pal Colwill, a longtime friend of Cote’s, attended breakfast Wednesday.
“I've known him all my life,” Colwill said. “I grew up around his family. I learned some French by being around them. It's amazing to have a friend for that long.”
Before everyone went their separate ways Wednesday morning, Cote sang another song.
"He's got a dozen songs like that,” Colwill said. “And they're all memorized."