Durham native turns 100
Alma Hunt has been described as a woman with a green thumb, an avid blackjack player and as a native daughter of Durham.
Marking her 100th birthday at the Carolina House on Thursday, Hunt was thrown a party with family and friends who gathered to wish her the best.
“She tells everybody to get ready to be 100,” said Carol Reuss who has been with Hunt at Carolina House for the past three years. “She’s a rare woman. She’s energetic and she knows what she wants.”
Hunt was born in Durham, one of 10 children and a twin, and grew up on a family farm on Garrett Road. She worked at American Tobacco Company and was married to Louis Hunt. The couple did not have any children.
Now at the Carolina House with a larger, extended family, Hunt shared her secret to becoming a centenarian.
“I did not have a special diet or exercise program but just walked around as much as possible and did as much for myself as I can,” she said. “To work hard and not wait for anyone else to do the work for you but to do it yourself.”
Hunt greeted her guests with hugs and kisses. She took photos with some and laughed with others. Her chair stood out among the others; it was the only one with balloons tied to the top.
“She’s very energetic. She’s an inspiration,” said Tonia Lea, business development coordinator for Carolina House. “We learn so very much from her. Seeing her smile every day is an inspiration to me.”
Lea’s 8-year-old son and Hunt played a bowling game on the Nintendo Wii video game system. Hunt won by a strike. Lea said that her son still talks about that game.
“It’s been a pleasure these five years with her,” she added.
Hunt’s green thumb has made her a bit of celebrity among those who know her.
“She still enjoys her vegetable garden,” said Lela Garrett, the sister of Hunt’s father-in-law. “She’s a good vegetable gardener. She’s always thoughtful of the whole family as time has gone on. I remember the last birthday cake she made my dad.”
Hunt said that she is most proud of having been married and of her 32 years with American Tobacco.
“… to have worked myself up from the bottom role to the position of timekeeper,” she said. “I enjoyed working there … I liked socializing with everyone.”
Over her 100 years, Hunt said that the way people live with technology has changed the most.
“I am a twin and my parents did not even know that they were having twins until Alice, my twin, appeared with the help of the family doctor in our home,” she explained. “And now they can find out everything ahead of time in a hospital.
After receiving a card from President Barack Obama, Hunt stood and said that she “doesn’t think anyone has a bigger family or better family than me.”
When asked about her next goal, Hunt replied, “to reach 101! To be continually learning and to stay independent.”