Mt. Pleasant's 'cookie lady' to celebrate 102nd birthday
By Cami Dibattista
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
On New Year's Eve, Anne Karaffa, the longest-living resident at Harmon House Care Center in Mt. Pleasant, will celebrate her 102nd birthday.
Known in the Mt. Pleasant area for more than 50 years as the “cookie lady,” Karaffa was recognized for her delicious, homemade treats.
“Everyone who came to my house couldn't leave without having a cookie,” said Karaffa.
Karaffa was born Dec. 31, 1911, in Tarrs.
“About 10 more minutes, and I would have been a New Year's baby,” Karaffa said. She moved to Mt. Pleasant in 1952 when she married her husband, Steve Karaffa. Karaffa said she and her late husband enjoyed 32 years together and shared similar backgrounds, each having been an integral part in the upbringing of their siblings.
“He was such a calm, loving man,” Karaffa said. “And he was a kisser. He was always giving me kisses.”
Karaffa was an active member of the Mt. Pleasant community for many years.
A member of the St. Pius X Parish, Karaffa spent much of her time cooking and baking cookies for church events and teaching religious classes to the church's children.
“I used to be known as the Cookie Lady, now I'm the ‘Bib Lady,'” said Karaffa, who was given the new nickname for helping her fellow residents at the Harmon House don bibs during mealtime.
“She is always helping others,” said Janice Basinger, a certified nurse's aid and Connellsville resident.
Karaffa said staying active and helping others keeps her busy and gives her something to do.
“I do it because I love it,” she said.
Karaffa has lived at Amber House at Harmon House Care Center for three years.
Until that time, she resided in her own home in Mt Pleasant.
She enjoys participating in activities such as arts and crafts and virtual bowling at the center.
Karaffa said she bowled up until she was 86, and she recently received a “top bowler” certificate for her high scores in virtual bowling.
“She's amazing,” said Rachael Shrum of Greensburg. “You'd never guess she's turning 102.”
Last year, in honor of her birthday, Karaffa starred in an episode of Mt. Pleasant Up Close with Mayor Jerry Lucia and Borough Manager Jeff Landy.
Karaffa prepared a batch of her famous apricot cookies for the show, which airs on WKVE 103.1 on Sunday mornings.
“They had all the ingredients laid out for me,” she recalled. “It was so fun.”
Karaffa still participates in community activities such as James E. Zundell American Legion Post 446 meetings and church services.
“I feel as good as I did when I was 50,” she said.
Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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