Former Tucumcarian turns 100

William Thompson

Mary Goldenberg, who lived in Tucumcari from 1919 until just five years ago, will celebrate her 100th birthday Sept. 10 at the Vida Encantada Assisted Living Center in Las Vegas.

Goldenberg said keeping busy and surrounding herself with family kept her going over the years. “Everyday my daughter and grandchildren come by to visit,” said Goldenberg, “and my son visits twice a year from California.” Her daughter, Josephine Leger, thinks genetics has played a role in her mother’s longevity. “Both of her parents lived into their 90’s,” said Leger, “but I think her religion and her friends kept her active as well. Goldenberg, a Roman Catholic, says her rosary daily at the assisted living center. She also watches mass on television every Sunday. “The mass is the only thing my mother watches on television,” said Leger. “She says too much TV hurts her eyes. She used to watch Novelas, a Spanish-language soap opera.”

Goldberg said she plays bingo daily, and the staff at Vida Encantada treats her well.
Goldenberg’s long life has seen its share of tragedy. In 1933, her first husband died in an auto accident. In 1982 her second husband died. Leger said her mother’s devotion to family and her dependence on family saw her through hard times. “When my father died in the car accident, I was only nine years old,” said Leger. “My mother had to keep going, and when her second husband died, one of her grandsons moved in with her to help her out.”

Goldenberg’s first husband died at the height of the Great Depression. Goldenberg said the Great Depression was the hardest era of her life. “The Great Depression was hard on everyone in our family,” said Goldenberg. “It’s the one national event I remember the most.” After a lifetime of ups and downs, Goldenberg is now anxious for a celebration with family and friends. Friends and family will gather Sept. 11 at the Las Vegas Elks Lodge for a birthday celebration.
Leger said family members remember Goldenberg’s devotion to them. “I remember as a young adult whenever I needed her, she would come and stay with us,” said Leger. “She was always there for her grandchildren.”

Goldenberg was active with the Does auxiliary of the Tucumcari Elks Lodge and could often be seen at the Pioneer Senior Center in Tucumcari. She recalls Tucumcari neighbors giving her rides when she needed them.
Goldenberg, a pioneer born in the small community of Quay in 1904, said she does not live with any regrets.
“Be happy and content and enjoy your family and friends,” she said.