WWII veteran turns 111 at Good Samaritan Society


More than two years ago, Julia Kabance reluctantly made the move to a skilled-care center at Good Samaritan Society – Wamego in Kansas. At the time, the 108-year-old, dealing with a leg wound, wasn’t sure about her new home.

“Stay two years and see how you like it,” Julia says she was thinking back then.

After many months of not having to cook or clean, she’s sold on her new surroundings.

“It’s kind of nice to have somebody wait on you,” Julia says. “I look forward to the good meals here.”

Society staff look forward to catching her in the halls.

“I think she’s pretty entertaining. I like spending time with her. She always makes me laugh,” administrator Angela Barber says.

Now at the spry age of 111, Julia still gets around on her feet with the use of a walker.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” Julia says.

'Strong-willed woman'

A local celebrity, Julia is the oldest living member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. She’s also the oldest living veteran in the state of Kansas. Sanford Health News wrote an extensive profile on her history in 2019. That year, her goal was making it to the age of 112.

“She’s strong. Strong-willed woman,” Angela says.

During World War II, Julia served in the U.S. Army in the Women’s Army Corps. After that, her love of God led her to volunteer frequently at the VA in Topeka following an accounting career.

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t slowing Julia down.

“She’s full of energy. She likes to tell stories. Not everyone knows where they’re going but everyone loves to listen to her,” Angela says.

On top of reading and playing cards, Julia likes to get out when she can.

“I like to exercise but I don’t walk as much as I used to,” Julia says.

Grateful for caring nurses

A recent fall made her grateful for the caring nurses just down the hall.

“I lost my balance,” Julia says about the incident a few months back.

She bumped her head but is recovering nicely. When she hit her alert button following the fall, staff came to her aid in a matter of moments.

If she would have been at her previous house, Angela says, “who knows how long she would have been there.”

Glad she’s healing well, Angela says the nursing home will be honoring Julia this Native American Day on Oct. 11. She and her neighbors at the location are treasured members of the community in Wamego.

“I love the residents. They make me smile every day,” Angela says.

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