King crowns 100 years with party at Martha & Mary

POULSBO — Alice Anna Wanda Weinerth King comes from a long line of long lives.

And she’s not letting the family tradition down.

King celebrated her 100th birthday Aug. 17 at Martha & Mary in Poulsbo. Her only child, Rosalind Plorde of Port Ludlow, commented that King’s mother had lived to be 93 and an uncle had lived to be 92, so longevity certainly runs in the family.

Still, Plorde said it was a special day to be able to help her mother celebrate a century of life.

“It gives me hope for a long life myself,” Plorde said. “I always tell my kids that they’d better be nice to me because I might be around a long time.”

King was born in 1904 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her parents were German immigrants and had two daughters. Later in her life, King was able to travel extensively to Germany to meet much of her extended family and Plorde said her mother taught her German when she was a child.

“Although some of it I had to abandon when I realized it was kind of risque,” she added with a chuckle.

When she was 14, King’s father died and by the age of 16, she was enrolled in a business training institute for women to help her mother and sister make ends meet. But life was not all work for the teen as she often ventured to the many popular big band dance halls, where she met Furman King. The two were married in August 1929 and shared 38 years of marriage before Furman’s death in 1967.

During World War I, the family moved to Virginia where Furman King worked for the Newport News Shipbuilding Company. King worked as a secretary for a State of Virginia agency both before and after her husband’s death. Plorde said her mother has always been an animal lover, having a canine companion most of her life, and has a great sense of humor.

“We always used to tease back and forth,” she said.

King retired in 1969 and lived in Richmond, Va. until her sister died in 1997. After that, she decided to move to the Pacific Northwest to be near Plorde. During her time in Washington, she lived in Liberty Shores and Viking Haven before finally moving to Martha & Mary in December 2003.

During King’s birthday festivities Tuesday, staff set up a display about her life, a giant, purple 100 mylar balloon and roses in the hallway of the center, where King and Plorde sat to greet well wishers. One resident in a wheelchair sung out, “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you,” as he passed, evoking applause from the nurses.

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