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Centenarian’s life remembered after death

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published August 12, 2015


A local senior living facility is honoring the recent passing of a centenarian in Sterling Heights.

Alma Stahl, who was born in Minnesota in 1908, passed away July 13 at the age of 107. She started living at the American House Sterling Heights Senior Living facility in 2007 when she was 99, according to staff.

Paula Marsee, the facility’s executive director, described Stahl as an amazing human being who was kind and soft-spoken, but also a go-getter.

“I feel like she taught us more than we were able to give to her, at times,” Marsee said. “Up until about 103 1/2, she was very spunky.”

Marsee said Stahl moved to American House at the insistence of her children, and that prior to moving, she was still doing gardening and errands. Stahl was a proponent of exercise and walking, Marsee said.

“She inspired a lot of the other residents here to take care of themselves,” she said.

Marsee said Stahl broke her hip from a fall at age 103, but she was able to go through the rehab recovery process with a fighting spirit.

Stahl is also remembered for being an avid reader, be it the Bible or a book about a Minnesota farm, Marsee said.

Moreover, Stahl was appreciated by the people around her.

“She had lots of visitors over the numerous years she has been with us,” Marsee said. “She’s basically the darling of our community. She became very ingrained into our culture here.”

The senior living community’s life enrichment director, Paula Thomas, said Stahl was a retired teacher who once had singer Diana Ross as a student.

Thomas said Stahl didn’t do much talking in her final year, but she was still able to smile and understand what others were saying.

“Our residents are so kind and sweet,” she said. “They’d go sit with her, let her know that she wasn’t by herself.”

According to Thomas, the late Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte made a habit of coming to Stahl’s birthday parties, and the new mayor, Michael Taylor, also attended one during his first year in office.

“(Taylor) was just so gracious,” Thomas said. “He really showed that he cared.”

According to an obituary, Stahl is survived by six children, 12 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Learn more about American House Sterling Heights Senior Living by visiting or by calling (586) 298-3119.

Call Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at (586) 498-1058.