Woman celebrates 106th birthday, gives valuable advice about life
At 106 years old, ManorCare-Health Services North Hills nursing home resident Emma Hughes has a zest for life.
Her family threw her a birthday party March 2 at the facility in Ross.
“(She) still has her right mind,” said her granddaughter, Linda Hughes, 59, of McKees Rocks. “People drop off pieces to her (to quilt).
“She’ll start talking to you (and) have to tell you how she grew up.”
Born in Georgia in 1913, Hughes moved to Western Pennsylvania in the 1970s to be with her family. She lived in Pittsburgh’s Manchester neighborhood before going to the home in 2011.
Long widowed, she had four children, one of whom is still living. Richard Hughes of Pittsburgh’s North Side will be 87 on March 15, Linda Hughes said.
She has 30 grandchildren and more than 30 great grandchildren.
Hughes, the oldest living member of her family, loves to quilt and recently has been “quilting up a storm,” nursing home spokeswoman Stephanie Howell said.
Linda Hughes said her grandmother, who receives hospice care three times a week, made her a quilt a few years ago that she uses on a queen-size bed. Despite arthritis, she sews by hand.
“How she gets that needle through, I don’t know,” Linda Hughes said.
Religion plays a big role in Emma’s life.
Linda Hughes said her grandmother hums old spiritual hymns while sitting by a window, and members of her church come to pray with her every Wednesday. “Amazing Grace” is her favorite song.
Linda Hughes said her grandmother gave her the following advice: depend on yourself, but follow God, that if you do not have God, you do not have strength, love yourself and your family, and if there is anything you can correct, correct it. Emma believes every generation is weaker and wiser.
“She taught me a whole lot,” Linda Hughes said.
Emma likes to eat and has a fondness for Southern food, Wholey’s fish sandwiches and hot dogs with tartar sauce.
Linda Hughes said her grandmother does not drink or smoke, but did use snuff, or smokeless tobacco, before entering the home.
She hopes to go to Georgia one more time.
Howell said Hughes is the oldest resident of the 200-bed skilled nursing facility, although it is becoming more common to have 100-year-plus people under its care.
ManorCare administrator Beth Runser said the home is lucky to have Hughes.
“The stories she shares with our staff are invaluable life lessons (and) truly a gift to all of us,” Runser said.
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.