BELLMEAD, Texas (Fox 44) — Today over 100 people gathered in Bellmead for a 100th birthday party to celebrate Ennis Degrate.

“My life has been great to me,” Degrate said.

Degrate was born in 1922, and his spent his entire life in Central Texas.

“I feel great,” Degrate said. “Thank you for coming out to the see me.”

A word that many use to describe Degrate… hardworking.

He started working when he was only 8 years old and didn’t retire until he was 83.

“He chopped and pulled cotton to help his family,” Degrate’s granddaughter Shonda White said.

After that, his father and grandfather taught him how to sharecrop where he worked on over 400 acres in Falls County and McLennan County.

All that hard work paid off when he saved up enough to build his own house.

“I like the children and young people and my kids, and I love to be with people,” Degrate said.

He raised a family, then became a bus driver at Robinson ISD for over 30 years.

Then, he became a custodian and maintenance worker for 20 more.

“I’ve been around children a long time,” Degrate said. “I enjoyed being around children. Children can learn a lot of things. So I love to be around them, and they can be funny too.”

White says he taught her how to work hard, and he has impacted many lives along his 100 year journey.

“He has always been such a humble man and been such an inspiration to me,” White said.

He’s learned a lot over the last 100 year and his advice…

“Work hard and stay out of trouble,” Degrate said.

Degrate will officially turn 100 September 27.