Jack Silverman immigrated to the United States on a big steamer at age 6 in 1912, the same year the Titanic sank. On Friday, he celebrated his 108th birthday at TimberRidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in southwest Ocala.

Jack Silverman immigrated to the United States on a big steamer at age 6 in 1912, the same year the Titanic sank. On Friday, he celebrated his 108th birthday at TimberRidge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in southwest Ocala.

Silverman recalls the long-ago days of President Woodrow Wilson. Yet, at age 95, he was “modern” enough to use a computer to follow the stock market.

“My body is in wonderful shape, but my eyes don’t match it,” Silverman said, adding that diminished eyesight has not slowed him down too much.

His daughter, Bobbi Seidel, 72, and her husband, Larry Seidel, residents of Stone Creek in Ocala, stood near Silverman Friday afternoon as he did a few merengue and chicken dance moves while seated in his wheelchair, which he started using at about age 107.

Bobbi Seidel said her dad moved from New York to New Jersey around age 95 and to Florida at age 100. He continued to use his computer until he was 107, she said.

About 70 residents of the nursing and rehabilitation center enjoyed entertainment coordinated by Gail and Alan Keichers Jr., a singer and DJ. Attendees were treated to waltz, foxtrot and other dance demonstrations by partners from Ocala Dance Club and USA Dance of Ocala.

One highlight was a visit from Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn.

“Only in America,” Silverman said in a strong voice as Guinn shook his hand and congratulated him.

“You’re looking good. I’ll be back for 109,” Guinn said.

Silverman, born in 1906, immigrated to America from Poland in 1912 on a ship he described as “big World War I” era and said he was “processed through Ellis Island.”

“The first woman I saw in America was the Statue of Liberty. She is beautiful. That’s why we came here,” he said.

Silverman lived in “lower New York” and worked as a plumber and electrician.

“Electricity was in its infancy, mostly shopkeepers could afford it; many others had gas mantle lights,” Silverman said.

He recalled the Oldsmobile line of cars as being popular and said he once “brought a trade-in for $90.”

Silverman was married to Alice Silverman for 74 years; she died at age 94. They had three sons, one of whom is living, and one daughter.

Wesley Battieste, a certified nurse’s aide at TimberRidge, said Silverman always has his “hand out to shake hands” in a friendly way.

“I always say to Mr. Silverman, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed,’ ” Battieste said.

Mary Walsh, a neighbor of Bobbi and Larry Seidel, enlisted the help of her daughter, Colleen Walsh, who is with Bartrum Springs Elementary in Jacksonville, to ask students to make colorful handmade birthday cards, many featuring American flags and large letters, proclaiming “Happy Birthday.”

TimberRidge nurse Diana Scofield confirmed that Silverman is the senior resident.

“The next eldest is 102. Silverman is really in good shape for 108. I told the 102-year-old about him and she said she thought she was the oldest,” Scofield said.

Silverman said he is glad to be in America because of the nation’s liberty and freedom.