Carmen Amado Acevedo didn’t kick off the new year with a long list of resolutions.
But she did kick it off with a birthday, turning 107 on Jan. 2.
Carmen, who was born when Arizona was still a territory, didn’t have a list of grand plans. “It’s just nice to see what each day will bring my way,” said Carmen, who still walks without the assistance of a cane or walker.
Since she gave up driving, she noted, she has more freedom in some sense, since her family takes her wherever she wants to go! Her advice to others: “Life doesn’t always give you choices. You just have to adjust to what comes your way,”
Carmen is part of a special group of folks known as centenarians – those who are 100 years or older. In fact, they only make up .02 percent of the population, which works out to about 55,000 people, according to the American Community Survey, through the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 80 percent of centenarians are female.
Tucson Medical Center and the Pima Council on Aging each year hold a Salute to Centenarians event, to honor those who have earned the distinction. Carmen said she’s very much looking forward to attending the May 6 event, with registration underway.
Carmen, who lived on a family homestead ranch in Amado with her six siblings, moved to Tucson after her mother died in 1920 in the first recorded fatal motor vehicle accident in Arizona. Her father, Demetrio Amado-Ferrer, who studied law and medicine, emphasized education for his daughters. When the family returned to the ranch, he hired teachers to live on site and teach them the basics and piano. The family used a building on the ranch property as a schoolroom so that neighboring children could attend school as well.
Carmen excelled in school, and even skipped a grade, but disliked history, as she preferred to look ahead. To this day, she still dislikes history and does not always enjoy talking about the past but rather enjoys looking to the future.
It was at the social club, the Blue Moon, as a chaperone for her cousin, when she first danced with her future husband Cornelio Acevedo even though he was on a date with someone else. Carmen and Cornelio dated and danced for four years before they married and continued their lives together until his passing in November 1973.
The two were blessed with a daughter, Marcella, who still brings joy to Carmen’s life. Marcella, known as Marcy, has two children: Kenneth Michael Roberts and Gloria Denise Roberts, who live in Tucson. Ken’s three sons are Michael, Max and Harrison. Carmen also has one great-great-granddaughter.
An avid gardener and cook, Carmen was always first in line at rollercoaster rides, and ready for the next learning experience. A determined woman, one of her favorite phrases is “El caballo esta ensillado y me monto” – loosely translated as, “The horse is saddled and I will ride.”
Carmen will be among those honored at the 29th annual Salute to Centenarians, a free luncheon which takes place at Tucson Medical Center. Last year, 113 centenarians were identified and 35 attended. The program includes a commemorative booklet and a photo portrait sitting.
If you, a friend or a loved one is interested in attending, please contact Jan Baker at email@example.com or 258-5076.