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Yoakum woman celebrates 108th birthday, gives advice on living life to fullest (w/video)

By JR Ortega
March 14, 2014 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated March 13, 2014 at 10:14 p.m.

Katie Mae Jones laughs as she reflects on her 108 years of life. A resident of Stevens Health Care and Rehab in Yoakum, she said she has no idea how she has lived so long or how much longer she will be around. "I don't like to worry," she said.

YOAKUM - At 106 years old, doctors gave Katie Mae Jones one month to live.

How could she prove them wrong? By living to be 108.

These days, Jones, who celebrated her birthday Monday, can't even remember what it was the doctor found wrong with her.

"I just don't worry about it," Jones said about aging and death.

Despite being among some of the oldest Crossroads residents, it was not until 2012 that she moved into Stevens Health Care and Rehab in Yoakum.

Jones has not only surpassed her doctor's expectation, but she's also alive and kicking.

Clad in a Sunday's best black dress with a pink sweater used as a shawl, she keeps up with fashion.

She even recently visited her home to pick up more clothing for her stay at the nursing home.

Born March 10, 1906, Jones remembers a simpler time of manual labor, country living and respect for God.

"People today don't have God. I think people must be losing their mind. I don't know what they're thinking."

The events of yesteryear - the wars, the economy, the government - those are things Jones cannot remember much of.

Family and friends, those are memories that last a lifetime.

Jones slightly throws back her head, a smile breaking across her face at the memories of her childhood. She remembers the days of picking cotton with her brother, which she enjoyed.

She remembers how he used to try to get her to stand on a pile of red ants, so to get him back, she would chase after him with a garden hoe.

She also remembers good country-style cooking and making chewing gum.

"Things were much different when I was growing up," she said.

She eventually married, though her husband died more than 70 years ago. She did not have children.

She spent much of her life working for families and then hotels.

Though racism was an issue growing up, she never felt like an outcast, she said.

"There was some friendly people," she said.

Those working at the nursing home see it the opposite way - she's seen as the friendly person.

Jones, who is wheelchair-bound, can't make it down the hallway without someone calling her name and saying "Hi."

"She has a really good personality, and she's wise," said Tishanne Carroll, social services and activities director at the home. "You never know what she's going to say or what her comeback is going to be. And she always has one."

As for the age-old question of how she managed to live so long, she said she cannot really answer that.

Maybe it's that she did not have children, some at the nursing home joke.

Jones insists she's really done nothing special to stay alive so long and that she just keeps thinking pleasant thoughts and praying.

"We don't know how much life is left in us," she said. "You need to remember the Lord and thank him for what he's done for you."



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