Oldest living CSU alum

Feb 4, 2015 1:03 AM by Jason Atcho

Many of us have gotten those reminders for our class reunions but what happens when you become the oldest living CSU alum? That's what Lynn Balmer is going through at 107 years young.

She spends her days now at the Country Village Retirement Facility in Chico, but she remembers not too long ago when she was a youngster going to school. "We lived by the rules, believe me. There was no monkey business," she said.

Balmer grew up in Chico and is the oldest of nine children. "I went to Chico High School in 1922 and graduated in 3 years. All A's. And then I went right on into Chico State Teacher's College for a 2 year stint."

After graduating from college, she accepted her first job as a teacher. "My first school was in 1927 in Susanville." However, the war fell upon us and things changed with Balmer joined the Coast Guard during WWII. There she became an officer and was sent to Seattle where she was in charge of the code room.

She remembers one of her favorite moments. "There was a knock on the door and here stood the commander of the Coast Guard. The big shot. But he had a cigar in his hand and it was lit and it says ‘no smoking'. So I shut the door on his face and turned the lock." Two minute later the phone rang and she had to report to the commander where he asked her what she was trying to hide. I said ‘no sir I wasn't trying to hide but you had a lighted cigar and it says no smoking'. So he says go back to your station."

It was in Seattle that she met her husband of 55 years while ice skating. "Oh I loved it. I just lived for it. I didn't do fancy jumping or spinning but I did the ballroom dances with a partner and that's where I met my husband."

When asked what the secret is to living such a long and healthy life, she said she just takes it one day at a time. "Just keep on going. Keep on keeping on."

Balmer also said she reads without glasses, doesn't have false teeth, and doesn't use hearing aids or a cane. It must be in the genes.


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