Avamere resident celebrates 101st birthday
Alma Rinear has spent much of her life caring for others. At 101 years old, she doesn't have any plans to stop.
Avamere, an assisted living facility on Southeast Langensand Road in Sandy, celebrated Rinear's 101st birthday on Monday, July 17, with cake, balloons and many well wishes.
Although she hasn't lived in Sandy long, only the four years she's been at Avamere, she is well-liked among the other residents and looked up to as an example of a life well lived.
Rinear grew up one of 10 children — nine girls and one boy — and her greatest enjoyment was derived from time with family.
"They we're raised poor and made their own fun," her daughter Sharlene Hack explained. "The whole family (worked) to survive in those days."
She also cleaned the house, waited tables at a local restaurant to help the family and took sewing lessons from her mother — first with a needle and thread, then with the family's first electric sewing machine. "If there was something you wanted to make by hand your mother gave you enough material make it and eventually you learned to sew. I got to run that machine, and that was the very beginning."
Rinear met her husband, Earle, in Okanogan, Wash., north of her hometown of Ephrata. Earle owned a five-and-dime store in town.
"I went to the store and there he was," she said.
"And you'd sashay in," Hack joked.
"No," Alma Rinear said. "I just thought he was good looking and looked at him a lot."
Earle went on to be a cement contractor after they had married in 1932. Eventually he, Alma and their four children moved down to The Dalles, where Earle was instrumental in the creation of The Dalles Dam, a task that kept the family in The Dalles for about a decade.
"As we kids would always say as we came down (through Oregon), 'There's the dam that Pops built,' " Hack noted. "That was the longest we've been anywhere. Those days you followed the work."
While her children were growing up and her husband was spending most of his time at the dam site, Alma was a housewife and stay-at-home mother.
"It was a job," Alma said.
"A job well done," Hack added.
And even though she and her husband were better off financially than she was in her youth, Alma still sewed all of her children's clothes. Creating clothes and blankets and other "pretties," as Hack describes them, has always been a passion.
"She's always been a seamstress and made creative beadwork," Hack said. Rinear has beaded many a lampshade that now grace her family members' homes.
Nowadays, Alma's focus is knitted baby blankets, which she sends to an Indian reservation in Arizona.
"I like the Indians," Alma said. "We lived in Okanogan, and there were lots of Indians, and that's where I started making things for the Indians."
After Earle passed away in 1998, Alma went to live with her daughter Darlene in Arizona, where Darlene was already making and sending blankets. Alma has sent hers to the Southwest ever since, even after moving to Avamere in Sandy four years ago.
"I have always been busy home raising kids and doing whatever," Alma Rinear said. "Now I knit."