102-year-old knitter warms babies, hearts with blankets

2014-05-22T00:00:00Z 102-year-old knitter warms babies, hearts with blanketsBy Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

One of the northwest side’s oldest residents works tirelessly to comfort some of the youngest.

Evelyn Holmes, who turned 102 on April 21, knits blankets for infants in Northwest Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit.

A resident of the Country Club of La Cholla retirement community, Holmes has made the blankets for five years, knitting between four and eight blankets a month.

Another resident, who asked not to be named in the story, makes booties, mittens and hats to go along with Holmes’ blankets.

Crystal Payne, director of activities at the facility, said Holmes is a dedicated worker.

“She has to take breaks to keep her hands from freezing up, but she can’t imagine not doing it,” Payne said. “Evelyn has a joyful spirit and takes pride in doing for others.”

Payne added that hospital staffers are always eager to receive the blankets, which sooth babies and make parents feel more comfortable.

Reached via email, Holmes said she doesn’t consider knitting a hobby, but part of her daily activities and just something she likes to do. She has been knitting baby blankets and sweaters since the 1930s.

Holmes moved to Tucson in 2001 to be closer to family following the death of Albert, her husband of 71 years. She has a son, a daughter, five grandsons, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. All live in the Tucson and Phoenix areas.

She said she credits her health and longevity to eating carefully, as well as genetics. She said she’s never undergone any specific treatments to stay healthy.

Holmes said her advice to those younger than she is to waste no time and to serve as many people as possible.

“Live life to the fullest. Do something for others,” she said. “That is what we are here for, to do for others what we can.”

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at pvillarreal@azstarnet.com or 573-4130.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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