Attitude her key to a century of life

Maxine Farber joins in the applause after her friends sing “Happy Birthday” to her at Hyder Apartments Sunday afternoon. She celebrated her 100th birthday.

Maxine Farber joins in the applause after her friends sing “Happy Birthday” to her at Hyder Apartments Sunday afternoon. She celebrated her 100th birthday. Photo by Gerry Tritz.

Celebrating her birthday with a packed room of people at Hyder Apartments Sunday afternoon, Maxine Farber said she made it to 100 by “doing all the wrong things: eating too much sugar, too much friend food, too much wine.”

Then the social butterfly turned more serious, and added: “They can take everything from you except your attitude. If you keep your attitude, you’ll keep going.”

Farber’s daughters, Gina Jones of Jefferson City and Marj Hicks of Kansas City, organized the party for their centurian mom who was born in Mankato, Kan., and grew up in Kansas City. “I’m surprised they didn’t have a male stripper,” the elder Farber cracked.

After earning a degree in sociology, she promptly started looking for a job as a jazz singer. That career took her to New York before she settled down, got married and raised a family. For many years, she worked as the executive secretary at University of Kansas Medical Center.

She retired at the age of 62 and moved to Cuchara, Colo., an unincorporated community in Huerfano County and site of a former ski resort. “I joined all the young people out there cross country skiing and Jeeping,” she said.

Soon she’ll be returning there — the town has invited her to be the grand marshal in its upcoming parade.

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