Kathryn Bollinger Johnson, a resident of Liza’s House, Danielsville, surpassed a life milestone April 1 few, if any of us, will ever experience — 100 years of age.
Last Sunday, Johnson was treated to a birthday party unlike any other as she was surrounded by her brother, Del Bollinger of North Catasauqua, and family members who traveled from as far away as Australia, Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and New York to celebrate her life at the Woodstone Country Club, Danielsville.
According to Bollinger, his sister still retains a sharp mind and sense of humor, even at 100 years of age.
Although Johnson anticipated Sunday’s 100th birthday party, it was clearly visible she embraced the significance of the day.
“It’s great,” she said, as her eyes demonstrated appreciation and love for those who sat down or kneeled next to her to share in her special moment.
Johnson was born April 1, 1916, and grew up on her parents’ farm in Big Creek, Towamensing Township.
She married Albert Johnson in 1935 and soon thereafter moved to Palmerton, where the couple raised twin daughters, Kathryn Vacco and Kathleen Rodgers, both of Florida, and a son, Robert, of Johnstown, N.Y.
She also has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Niece Elizabeth Bollinger of Northampton recalls fond memories of visiting her aunt.
“We stayed overnight in her home,” Elizabeth said. “She was a good aunt.”
What is the secret to Johnson’s long, fruitful life, you might ask?
“Clean living,” she said. “I didn’t drink, and I didn’t smoke.”
She also walked daily and ate fresh vegetables for most of her life, which Bollinger said helped his sister live a long life.
“A lot of hard work and good Pennsylvania Dutch food,” Elizabeth added.
The recipe for Johnson’s famous beef vegetable soup remains under family lock-and-key, Elizabeth noted.
Bollinger also said Johnson enjoyed horses, and some of her favorites were named Tom, Dick and Harry.
Johnson is 14 years older than Bollinger. Although she is considered the “older sister,” Bollinger recalled a lighter moment that occurred when he was 4 or 5 years of age.
According to Bollinger, his sister was asked by their parents to watch over him. Being the typical, precocious young boy, Bollinger wandered into the woods. Not too long after roaming into the woods, Johnson was asked by their parents where her younger brother was.
“She found me,” Bollinger said jokingly.
Johnson notes life is much different today than it was when she was younger.
“There’s a lot of new inventions,” she said.
New inventions may replace older gadgets, but one thing is for certain: Johnson’s life will never be replaced.
“She’s my only surviving sister,” Bollinger said.