Cathryn Walling turns 100 years oldFamily and friends celebrate her century mark BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR Cathryn Walling gets a little help blowing out her candles from son, Robert Walling. The Lake Stevens Senior Center was filled to capacity last Friday as local seniors and family of Cathryn Walling celebrated her 100th birthday with her.
As one of the founders of the Lake Stevens Senior’s Group, Walling is a regular at these Friday lunches and even has a special seat reserved for just her.
“She is so wonderful,” fellow senior Wilma Daniels said. “Her mind is so alert.”
Daniels presented Walling with gifts, including 10 brightly colored roses from local rose garden enthusiast, Fred Cushman. Each rose represented a decade of her life.
“We’re as happy as can be that you’re here with us today,” Senior President Joyce Bell said to Walling.
Walling’s son Robert, or Bob as she calls him, and his wife Miriam planned a special party for July 12, which was her actual birthday.
Both Bob and Miriam joined in the fun at the Senior Center before the family celebration the next day, where Bob shared some fond memories of his mother.
Bob, who suffered from dyslexia as a child, back when no one really knew what it was or how to treat it, remembers the hours of tutoring his mother gave him.
“My mother read to me and with one finger she’d type my papers, which got me a high school diploma, into the military and through 16 years of college,” he said through tears. “Because of her efforts I became the Coordinator of Education for the State of Texas.”
Walling also brought along her caregiver, Francis Elder, who has been assisting her for the last two-and-a-half years. Walling still lives in her home where Elder comes each morning.
“It got a little blurry as to who was taking care of whom,” Elder said to the crowd. “Perseverance is what I’ve learned from her.”
Four generations of Wallings were able to be in attendance at the Senior Center luncheon including her granddaughter Samantha Ross and her six-month-old son, Noah.
“It’s amazing,” Ross said. “The only thing she has lost is her hearing. She looks good and I can only hope that the genes were passed down.”
After blowing out the candles on her huge birthday cake, Walling smiled at all of the attention.
“I never expected anything like this,” she said, stating that she was also excited for her party the next day.
Walling has had an incredible journey working as a soprano in the Bellingham Philharmonic, as a corsetiere, and founder of a musical theater company. She was married to Paul Walling for 35 years and is the mother of three sons, William, Rocky and Robert. She has five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
“Her life has been filled with hard work, clean living and encouraging creativity in others,” a quote in the Senior Moments newsletter states.