Portsmouth woman withstands the test of time


PORTSMOUTH, OH (WOWK) – Alma Kahl celebrated her 109th birthday Sunday afternoon at the Hill View Retirement Center in Portsmouth, Ohio.

Kahl was greeted with birthday wishes from both her friends at the facility and members of the Portsmouth Second Presbyterian Church, where she is also a member. However, this year’s celebration was a little bit different than what she’s used to.

With restrictions set in place due to COVID-19, no one was allowed to visit with Kahl inside of the facility. But that didn’t stop her friends from wishing her a happy birthday.

We just wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out on celebrating with her no matter what conditions we had to do it under.

Kelly Raies, Portsmouth Second Presbyterian Church member

Abiding by social-distancing guidelines, a small group of church members and residents stood outside of Kahl’s building singing the “birthday song” and visiting with her through a window.

Kahl has lived through several significant events over the last 109 years.

Alma was born in July, then the following April, the Titanic went down.

Mary Baughman, Portsmouth Second Presbyterian Church member

She’s not only famous for living through so many events. Kahl was a Miss West Virginia University beauty queen and has also had high tea with Queen Elizabeth.

Kahl’s friends say she has lived an active life of travelling the world and until a few years ago, was still living on her own.

We met Alma about 20 years ago when she was a spring chicken at 89-years-old. Now, 20 years later, she’s still going strong at 109. It’s pretty amazing.

Michael Raies, Portsmouth Second Presbyterian Church member

Her friends also say they are looking forward to celebrating her 110th birthday next year.

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