PORTSMOUTH —for many 110 years seems like forever, but for Alma Kahl, it is just another year to celebrate all she has accomplished.
Kahl celebrated her 110 birthday Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at Hill View Retirement Center in Portsmouth, Ohio, where she has resided for the last six years. There was a line all the way back to the front door of people from the Retirement Center and others who gathered to wish the special lady a happy birthday.
Kahl shared that she had been looking forward to this birthday celebration every day and that she loves it. She said she asked the Lord to bless each and everyone there for her celebratory birthday. Kahl is still a beautiful lady at any age, let alone 110 years of age.
Also in attendance for the celebration, was Kahl’s niece, Carol Edwards, her great-niece Jennifer Daniels (Helen’s daughter) and her great-great nephews (Jennifer’s sons) Jasper and Gus who are 15 and 13-years-old. Her great-niece Daniels told a story of how her great aunt was quite the driver.
She said that Kahl and her would go on adventures together and she would follow her back and forth to Cincinnati but drive her own car and she was the most fearless driver.
“If I went up to pass, she was right on my tail two taps behind me going 85 miles an hour. We had some big adventures,” Daniels said. “If you got her stamp of approval, it gave you a level of courage and confidence that you didn’t get from anybody else. She is pretty spectacular.” She added that her mother (Helen) was Kahl’s last closely related living relative.
Kahl was born July 6, 1911, in Montgomery, West Virginia. Kahl attended West Virginia University to study Social Studies and received her teaching certificate for 8th-12th grade. In 1935, while at West Virginia University, she was chosen as one of the five most beautiful West Virginia co-eds and was later crowned Miss West Virginia University beauty queen. A few years later, Kahl decided to go back to graduate school to receive her master’s degree in Social Studies.
In 1950, Kahl met and married her husband, Cyrus and then moved to Portsmouth, Ohio. Over the years, the couple traveled around the world together. Once, during what would become an infamous trip to Europe, Kahl was invited to have tea with Queen Elizabeth II and she still remembers this tea.
In addition to traveling, Kahl loved to entertain her family and friends and would often host large dinner parties for her family and friends at her home. Around 1968, Kahl became involved with the local arts and was an instrumental organizer of a major cultural event that honored artists from Portsmouth who made a name of themselves in the art world.
In 1996, when the Vern Riffe Center for the Performing Arts was under construction, Kahl advised that the seating be increased based on past audience numbers. Subsequently, Kahl made a generous donation which helped to fund the “Kahl Black Box Theatre.” Kahl later received a letter from the Ohio Senate thanking her for her outstanding service and contributions to the Portsmouth Area Arts Council Board. Kahl was a member of the Second Presbyterian Church and was honored in 2016 as the woman of the year.
Kahl has always been one to give back to her community in many ways; for example, she served with the Portsmouth Area Arts Council, the Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association, the Sister Cities organization, and the Scioto Christian Ministries board. Kahl has experienced many events throughout her life, such as the 1937 Portsmouth flood, climbing the Great Wall of China, traveling to Hong Kong, Europe and Antarctica, receiving personal letters from President Bush and of course, having tea with the Queen of England.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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