101 year old makes her modeling debut

After modeling, Ruth Hurd takes a seat with other models. - Photo by Leslie Kelly
After modeling, Ruth Hurd takes a seat with other models.
— image credit: Photo by Leslie Kelly

She never planned to be a model. But when you’re 101 and the opportunity presents itself, you don’t question it. You just do it.

And that’s what Ruth Hurd did last week. At the ripe old age of 101, she put on a beautiful pants outfit in pink and purple and walked the catwalk, on the arm of a “younger” gentleman.

“I’m not sure why I told them I’d do this,” Hurd said. “I guess I was feeling good.”

Hurd, a resident at the Crista Shores Retirement Community in Silverdale, was part of an afternoon fashion show sponsored by the Coldwater Creek clothing store in Gig Harbor.

Each of the 10 models, all who live at Crista Shores, had the opportunity to travel to the store and try on clothes until they each found just the right outfit to model in the show.

Hurd, who has lived at Crista Shores since 1997, chose bright pink and purple pants, top and jacket.

But fashion was never her thing, she admitted.

“I’m not all that fashionable,” she said. “But I do love to shop.”

In fact, Hurd said, when her first husband, James, retired from a career at IBM, he asked to go shopping with her. She said yes.

“He didn’t know how long I could shop,” she said. “He never asked to go again.”

Hurd was raised in South Dakota and spent time as a teacher in a one-room country schoolhouse. After she married James, they moved to Washington state to live near family and to look for a better life. They had five children and a 42-year marriage before James died in the early 1990s.

It was five years later when Hurd married Merrill, her first husband’s brother. And they were together until his death in 1998. That was when she moved to Crista Shores.

“This is the best place,” Hurd said of her retirement center. “The people are so great and there’s plenty of activities.”

The fashion show was just one of the happenings last week for residents to take part in, or to watch.

“I never dreamed I’d do anything like this,” she said. “It’s exciting and it’s fun.”

Glenda Clarke, with Coldwater Creek, said she loves taking care of customers and planning events such as the fashion show.

“It’s part of what I do,” she said. “We do shows for businesswomen, ladies golf groups, even birthday parties in our store where the guests come in a shop with a personal shopper. I get to do all the fun stuff.”

The fashion show included Clarke’s description of each model’s outfit and all sort of options for accessorizing. And she added a bit about each resident who modeled, telling their favorite pastime and something about them.

When she spoke about Hurd, she said Hurd had been a teacher and recalled a student who had a crush on her.

Hurd spoke up and told the crowd something more.

“When my husband Merrill was on his death bed, he said, ‘I hope I left enough money for you to go shopping at The Bon,’ ” she said.

Hurd said she doesn’t have any secrets to having a long life.

“But everyday I eat one dark chocolate-covered almond cluster,” she said. “And I thank the Lord for all my blessings.”


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