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K. Rose Wood

K. Rose Wood

ADVOCATE FOR SENIORS

Honored October, 1986

K. Rose Wood

New Mexicans of all ages owe a vote of thanks to K. Rose Wood, founder and first director of the State Agency on Aging. Under her guidance and leadership, the organization that began in 1967 as the Governor's Commission on Aging evolved into a full-fledged agency, providing services for all New Mexico seniors.

She was born in Chicago in 1905. She started out as a social worker in Minnesota. The Depression brought her to New Mexico in 1935. She began her long career in state government at the Departments of Social Welfare and Public Health. In 1959, "after working a lot of the elderly through the welfare set-up, she thought, "Why not start something exclusively for our seniors?" Her vision was realized in 1967 with the passage of federal legislation creating commissions on aging throughout the U.S.

In 1965, after helping write the bill that created the state commission on aging, K. Rose had two primary goals: first, to make the organization visible; and second, to get a healthy budget and staff.

"I dreamed about it," she recalled. "I read all the laws in the other states to find out what would work well for us. I had to learn; it took a long time." In the course of studying gerontology, watching her own mother and other relatives age, and finally, in 1976, retiring and assuming a busy schedule of volunteer work, K. Rose developed her own positive philosophy of aging.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes