Samarkand Retirement Community resident Wilma Kendrick celebrated her 100th birthday with a lei around her neck, a huge chocolate cake in front of her, and family and friends at her side.

The event was one more in a long list of celebrations that included an education degree from the University of Illinois, two happy marriages, two sons, and a 32-year love affair with a car.

Wilma Kendrick at her 100th birthday

Santa Barbara old timers may remember the car, a salmon-pink, 1956 Ford Thunderbird with a chromed engine under the hood, a continental kit on the back, and all the extras in between. Kendrick had two grandchildren in tow when the odometer rolled over to 100,000 miles. It was time to celebrate. She stopped smack dab in the middle of a street in the upper Eastside and started honking the horn.

Kendrick, her family, and the T-Bird arrived in Santa Barbara in 1956. Kendrick took up interests that sustained her ever since—birding with the Audubon Society and volunteering with the League of Women Voters and the Santa Barbara Art Museum.

Now a resident of The Samarkand, a nationally accredited not-for-profit continuing care retirement community, Kendrick says the keys to longevity and happiness are simple. For longevity, “Eat properly.” For happiness, “Take things as they come.”


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