JOSEPH — Alpine House resident Gladys Huffman will become a centenarian Friday, Jan. 17. Staff there are hoping for her to receive 100 birthday cards for the event.
Born Jan. 17, 1920, in Birkenhead, England, she’s had a long, eventful life that includes serving in the British Royal Air Force during WWII. But Huffman has lived most of her 100 years in the U.S. When she moved to Alpine House in Joseph in 2018, one of her daughters, Vickee Gockley, lived in Joseph. Gockley has since moved to Peck, Idaho. But Huffman has stayed here.
Asked what does she attribute her long life to, Huffman said part of it is genetic, but she’s always tried to live right.
“I believe the church has something to do with it. I’ve always been a church-goer but I don’t preach to everybody about religion,” she said. “I tried to take the best care I could of my children and teach them the right things.”
Widowed in the 1950s, she raised her four daughters alone and has outlived the two youngest. She also has eight grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild may be on the way.
“I never thought I’d make it this far,” Huffman said. “But you know, inside I don’t feel like I’m 100. I feel like I always used to. Even when I was in the hospital, I didn’t feel like I was really 100. But I did feel like the Lord had sent for me and then He changed His mind and said, ‘You’re not ready to come here yet.’ ”
Huffman’s pondering the next century.
“I’m glad I won’t be in it because I can see what’s coming,” she said. “That gentleman who’s our president now, he’s a little different than most presidents, but I think he’s got some good ideas. And if the wrong person gets in — I am concerned about that. Also, I’m not too fond of the way the fashions are going. I don’t think I’d go out and pay $75 for a pair of jeans that are all ripped. And I miss some of my old friends.”
Huffman is the oldest resident of the Alpine House, an assisted living home with about 22 residents, according to Lisa Murphy, activities and marketing director.
The Alpine House staff and residents plan a party for Huffman on her birthday. The following day — a Saturday — about 25 family members are expected to travel here from Ohio to Seattle for a second party.
Anyone wishing to send birthday greetings to Huffman can drop them by or mail them to her in care of Alpine House, 204 N. Park St., Joseph, OR 97846.