Carmel woman celebrates 107th birthday: ‘I never thought I’d be that lucky’

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CARMEL, Ind. – The year Jennie Zawada was born William Howard Taft was the President of the United States. That was 107 years ago.

On Wednesday Zawada celebrated her 107th birthday. She was born January 9, 1912.  During the time she’s been alive, Zawada has lived through two World Wars, 19 Presidents and 24 summer Olympics.

She was a resident of Florida until roughly two years ago, but now she’s lives at the Magnolia Springs Senior Living Home in Carmel so she can be closer to family.

“First when she turned 100, I went, ‘Oh my God,  this might be the last year.’ Then she’s 101, ‘Oh my God, it might be the last year.’ Then every year until here she is 107, going strong,” Jennie’s niece Nancy Dwyer said.

Zawada continues to feel young by being constantly active. She says she currently takes a half-hour exercise class 5 times per week.

“I never thought I’d be that lucky. The years go by and you never realize that you’re getting old,” Zawada said.

Zawada insists she doesn’t have any secrets to longevity, but says she has never drank alcohol, smoked, and avoids fast food.

“I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, what else is there?” she said.

Family members say part of her longevity can be attributed to her strong-willed nature. She never wanted help from anyone her entire life. She even continued driving until she was 104.

“She was mowing her own lawns at 103 with a push mower,” her great-nephew Michael Dwyer said.

In the end, Zawada says she now just enjoys her life day by day.  Something only the wisdom and gratitude of time can bring.

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