LONG BEACH - Kathleen Carroll celebrated her 104th birthday at Long Beach Retirement and Assisted Care Jan. 8 with cake and ice cream. Her son Al and his wife Marty of Surfside joined residents and staff from the assisted care facility for the festive event. Kathleen is believed to be the oldest Pacific County resident at the present time.
"The key to living so long is to do things that make you happy, to do things that please others," Kathleen states. When asked what she wanted for her birthday in the line of gifts she replied, "I have everything I need."
Kathleen was born in Iowa, although she can't recall the name of the town, on Jan. 8, 1903. Her family soon relocated to Oregon where she graduated from high school at Laurel Wood Academy, a Seventh Day Adventist school located in Gladstone, Ore., in about 1924. She went on to study to become a registered nurse in California, where she met her husband George. They were married in 1927.
Kathleen and George Carroll had one son, Alton. She worked for many years as a nurse and also as a school teacher. "Mom taught grades one through eight in Gladstone in a one-room school house," Al says. He was born in 1929 and Kathleen says of her only son, "Al was a good boy, no trouble at all."
In about 1990 Kathleen retired from nursing after she injured her neck. In 2003 she moved to Golden Sands at Klipsan Beach where she was very popular among the residents.
"Kathleen made the outfit she is wearing today," Marty explains. Al adds, "She was quite a good seamstress in her day. She even helped mend things while she was at Golden Sands, which made her very popular." During her time at Golden Sands she took a cruise to Vancouver, B.C.
Sally Pierson of Long Beach Retirement and Assisted Care says, "Kathleen loves to be helpful. She often resets the tables just so if they aren't right. She loved our Christmas celebration this year and she is a very social person. She often walks the halls and can get around without her walker. Sometimes she will carry her Bible and she will talk about her days as a school teacher."
Al explains Kathleen was a very devout Seventh Day Adventist, saying, "Mom never took a drink of alcohol or even coffee in her entire life." Marty says, "Kathleen is a vegetarian and is still very healthy."
A long, healthy life certainly runs in Ms. Carroll's family. Both her parents, according to Al, lived into their 90s and her brother Steve passed away when he was 98. Another brother, Chet, lived to be 95 and a sister, Vesta, also lived into her 90s. Kathleen's youngest sister, Naomi, will be 99 next April.
The biggest change Kathleen has seen over the years may have been television, although she doesn't watch much TV anymore as she has some difficulty adjusting her hearing aids so she can pick up the words. "I haven't changed much," Kathleen proclaims. She recently told her doctor, "I'm very much alive." Her many birthday guests certainly can attest to that as they enjoyed the celebration and Kathleen's company.