Alma Karlin, who turned 100 on Thursday, is shown with her late husband, Bob Karlin, in what is believed to be their wedding photo from 1942.
Alma Karlin, who turned 100 on Thursday, is shown with her late husband, Bob Karlin, in what is believed to be their wedding photo from 1942. (Courtesy of Bill and Sue Karlin)
FARMINGTON — Even though she is 100, Alma Karlin still knows how to party.

On Thursday, about 150 relatives and friends gathered at Bee Hive Homes, an assisted living facility, to celebrate Karlin's turn into a centenarian.

Karlin socialized with her guests and enjoyed a large cake and a card full of well wishes.

"I don't think she ever met a person in her 100 years that she didn't touch," said Butch Bradley, 60, her nephew.

Karlin, who was born in Bluegrove, Texas, moved to New Mexico in 1916. Her family traveled in a covered wagon driven by mules to Cottonwood, a town near Artesia.

"We raised cotton, thinned cotton," Karlin said, recalling her days as a child.
Alma Karlin, who turned 100 on Thursday, is shown with her late husband, Bob Karlin, in what is believed to be a photo of their first date, an outing to an
Alma Karlin, who turned 100 on Thursday, is shown with her late husband, Bob Karlin, in what is believed to be a photo of their first date, an outing to an 1890s-themed dance, in the early 1940s. (Courtesy of Bill and Sue Karlin)
"We'd send it to the gin, they'd pick the seeds out, and they'd sell it."

Karlin and her family were "dirt poor," she recalled, though her parents knew the value of education for their children.

"We were not allowed to miss school for any reason," Karlin said. "I was just a little country kid who went to a little old country school."

During the Great Depression, she did not even notice the widespread poverty, since it was all she had ever known. In 1931, she graduated high school, and then she went to college on a 4-H Club scholarship in Las Cruces.

"She got a college degree on scholarship, which was unusual at the time. She really thinks a college degree is important," said Alison Austin, 18, her great-granddaughter.

Karlin went into education herself. She taught at various schools statewide but spent much of her career at Kirtland Central High School, which was then known as Kirtland High School.

"She was always wanting the kids to be successful. Whatever she could do to help the kids, she would do," said Susan Guillory, 59, a former student of Karlin's.

In her century of living, Karlin said that her children were her greatest accomplishments and her husband, Bob Karlin, was her greatest friend.

"Just be happy," she said. "Be good, treat the world good, and it will treat you good."

 

Jenny Kane can be reached at jkane@daily-times.com; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane.