Julia Podres of Witherbee recently celebrated her 102nd birthday.
Julia Podres recently celebrated her 102nd birthday, although there’s some dispute about her age.
The Witherbee woman was born Feb. 29, which means she only has a birth day every four years. Does that make her 25 years old?
“I feel young,” Podres said. “I guess that’s the reason.”
The oldest person in the area, Podres still lives alone in her family home.
“I live alone. I can take care of myself,” she said. “I still shovel snow around the house. My doctor told me I shouldn’t be shoveling, but it needs to be done.”
Podres, who has no health issues, believes faith and hard work are the keys to a good life.
“I do the same things every day,” she said. “I get up in the morning and the first thing I do is say my prayers and read my Bible. Then I do my exercises, have breakfast and start work around the house.
“There’s always something to so,” she said. “I don’t sit around too much. People tell me they don’t have anything to do. I’d like to see the day I don’t have anything to do.”
Born and raised in Witherbee, Podres has lived there most of her life. She did spend 18 years, nine on Long Island and nine in Cleveland, working before she came home and married Steven Podres.
Steven worked in the mines while Julia raised the couple’s children, Stephanie (Posada) and Steven. Her husband Steven died 35 years ago. Stephanie now lives in Witherbee and Steven in New Mexico.
The past century-plus has brought many changes — most of them bad, according to Podres.
“Yeah, there’s been a lot of change, and not good, either,” she said. “It keeps getting worse and worse. There’s no reason for it. People should get along with one another. There’s very little love being passed around these days. It’s too bad.”
Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava called Podres a community treasure.
“She’s an amazing woman,” he said. “I just spoke to her and feel fortunate to know her. She’s a great example for everyone in our community and is a wealth of information on Moriah’s history.”
Podres doesn’t have many plans for the future, except one. She’ll go to church this Sunday and every Sunday. She attends Mount Moriah Presbyterian Church in Port Henry.
“I don’t miss church,” she said. “I go every week. I’ll go if I have to crawl.
“I just take things a day at a time,” Podres said. “I’ll carry on as long as the Lord gives me strength.”