An energetic, retired metalworker celebrated his 90th birthday with friends and family in Huskisson on Saturday, March 9.
Sam Knudsen, a recent resident of Vincentia, was joined by his daughters Marie, Diane, Carolyn and son Phillip and more than 40 other family members and close friends for a birthday lunch at the The Quarters restaurant.
Sam was well into his 70s when he retired from the business he started in 1958 - Knudsens Tanks and Roofing - in Tomerong. He is often heard saying 'never retire, because you will never have any spare time', Diane said.
"Sam is still a very energetic 90 years young, and most people to meet him find it amazing that he has still got a very enthusiastic approach to life, and his age does not match his physique," she said.
Sam, a father of six, spent about 30 years at his property in Wandandian before he recently moved to Vincentia. However, many of his decisions have been made around his family, necessity, and an unwavering sense of adventure to discover new places and experience life.
"Even as a young lad, Sam was a thinker, and often made choices that were encouraged and supported by his father Johann (Jack) Knudsen, who himself was an adventurer," Diane said.
Sam was born with three older adoring sisters and he grew up within his Christian family with respect and equality ingrained into him, Diane said.
His loyalty to the family unit and sense of adventure has taken him many places from his humble beginnings in Riverstone. Sam married at 19 and at 29, moved to Huskisson to start a new chapter in his life as he followed his parents to start a fishing career.
"Sam needed more work to feed his growing family, [so] he became a welder at Kelly & Ingram in Bomaderry, and quickly built a career in boiler-making," Diane said.
Sam and his father began making tanks in his backyard before he diversified into plumbing and other works. He eventually moved to Tomerong, just off the Princes Highway and progressed to manufacturing steel beams, girders and columns.
His youngest child Phillip took the reins of the business, followed by grandson Jason Knudsen, who has helped steer the business in a new direction.
Sam's love of flying started with the gliding club at Albatross near Nowra. He made the most of his passion, becoming a flight instructor and he flew planes until his 70s, Diane said.
Sam also saw an opportunity to make a difference in the community when he joined the Rotary Club of Huskisson. Celebrations were capped off with a birthday cake made and decorated by Sam's granddaughter.