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Surgery doesn't sideline senior
Who: Peter M. Cullen, 71, Portland
Private life: A former priest, Cullen
was born and raised in Fermoy, Ireland.He
moved to the United States in 1959 but returns to Ireland regularly to visit five brothers, a sister and a passel of nieces and nephews. Cullen retired as a senior vice president with First Interstate Bank.He
wife of 37 years, Sheila, have three children and six grandchildren.Cullen is an active member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians; the group is currently working on a memorial to Irish immigrants.
Fitness past: Cullen
grew up playing Gaelic football (a cross between soccer and basketball, played with a round ball) and hurling (round ball, flat bat).He
represented County Cork for two years in the All-Ireland Football Championship.He
also played soccer for many years, until his
right knee gave way.He
was goalkeeper on a Portland city league team called Puddle City.The team took a couple of championships in the mid-'80s.For the past 10 years, Cullen
has played racquetball at Bally's.
In 1996 he
had triple bypass surgery but two months later he
was back on the exercise track.Cullen's take on the whole thing is that it was "no reason to spend the rest of one's life sitting in a rocking chair."
Fitness now: He
plays racquetball on Wednesdays and Fridays with a rotating group of five friends.They play singles, doubles and sometimes cutthroat, two against one.Afterward, Cullen
spends 15 minutes on a stationary bike to keep his
knees loose before moving to the Nautilus machines to work on upper body, back and abdominals.
Tuesdays and Thursdays he
golfs: 18 holes on Tuesdays and nine or 18 on Thursdays, depending on his
no fair-weather golfer, either; he's
a "fixture" at Heron Lakes, rain or shine.And he
always stretches for a full 10 minutes before any activity. Cullen
works in his
yard and around the house on weekends.All in all, he
feels grateful for his
health and lucky to be able to participate in sports that he
in better shape now than he
was 10 years ago."No more heavy breathing after the first game of racquetball or after climbing a hill on the golf course."
believes in advocating for his
own health and isn't afraid to question his
doctors.On working out, he
says, "What's important is that we choose an exercise or sport that we enjoy and will stay with.Fitness is as essential to my life as are eating, drinking and sleeping.It keeps me feeling young and happy, banishes stress and fosters a healthy heart."
day with soy milk on cereal (he's lactose-intolerant), a banana and a cup of tea.Lunch is a turkey sandwich -- hold the mayo -- and an apple.He
eats chicken and fish but limits red meat to every three or four weeks.In addition to cholesterol medication, he
takes a multivitamin, vitamins E and C and folic acid.He
enjoys a bourbon in the evening.
PortlandTribune.com | Portland Tribune
Peter Cullen was ordained a priest in County Cork in 1958, but after being sent to the United States, he quit to start a family, ending up an executive at First Interstate Bank.Now 71, he says, "I tell the Irish-Americans, the Chuck Duffys of the world, 'You're more Irish than I am.' We natives, we take the whole thing for granted."
PortlandTribune.com | Blacks wield cultural clout
Peter Cullen is retired from First Interstate Bank, where he was a senior vice president.He graduated from National University of Ireland, Cork.He lives in Southwest Portland.