VIDEO: Druetta celebrates 100th birthday

Published 1:57 pm Thursday, September 22, 2022

Editor’s Note: The video above includes highlights from the 10oth birthday celebration of John Durden Druetta Sr. on Wednesday. Druetta received a proclamation from Sheriff Travis Patten in honor of his years and received an American flag that was flown over the capitol building. 

Special to the Democrat

NATCHEZ — John Durden Druetta Sr. was born September 21, 1922, in Natchez, to John Antonio and Laura Swayze Druetta and on Wednesday celebrated his 100th birthday.

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The Druetta family immigrated to the United States in the mid-1860s and soon found their home in Natchez. His parents both died in 1982. His older sister, Laura Elizabeth, died in 1962 at the age of 48. He has one son, John Durden Jr., called “Jay,” who is married to Margaret and resides in Crystal Springs.

Druetta is a lifelong resident of Natchez.

In fact, he is residing at the home where he was born. He graduated from Natchez High School in 1940. While in school he was a member of their high school band and played the tenor saxophone. After graduation, he worked at the Natchez Waterworks plant.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corp in May of 1942. He served in the 15th Army Air Corp; 484th bomber group; 826th bomber squadron and 1020th base unit. He was an engineer on B-17 flights out of Italy. His plane was shot down in Hungary in 1945. He was captured and was a German prisoner of war for 9 months. He was in three prison camps before they were liberated: Barth, Nuremburg and Moosburg. He was honorably discharged at the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Upon returning to Natchez in 1946 after the war, John went to work with the International Paper company and worked there until he retired in 1988. John was married to Jean Sandifer (Jay’s mother); Dorothy Thames who died in 1991; and Doris Troino who died in 2013.

John grew up in and attended Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez. While married to Doris, he also attended First Baptist Church in Natchez.

John is very patriotic. You can always see American and Ex-POW flags being flown at his residence. He enjoys watching sports, either football or baseball. Above all, John is an animal lover. He absolutely loves the dog he has right now, Macie.

He has had dogs, and a few cats, all of his life.