“I was born in 1915,” said Hannah Delila Walter (call her Lila), “but I guess you can figure that out. One of my first memories is of young men returning from World War I. One of them died because he inhaled mustard gas.”

On January 31st, friends, family and fellow residents joined Lila at Warren Center in Queensbury, NY, to celebrate her 104th birthday. She wore a pretty tiara in her flowing white hair to mark the occasion.

Lila was born in the rural nearby town of Thurman. She remembers when the town had neither telephone service nor electricity. Starting a petition, she was instrumental in bringing the first telephone service to Thurman. Lila is amazed by today’s technology. She has a cell phone but has no idea how to use it.

Lila once ran a general store with her husband Loren, later became well-known throughout Warren County as a real estate broker, and worked as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. She has also served as Thurman’s historian and is an author and a poet.

Widowed in 1956, she has two daughters, five grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren.

Her friend Sare Hall says: “The thing I love most about Lila, besides how sweet she is and how funny she is, is the things that she’s brought to Thurman.”

Her secret to living a long life? “I love God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit,” she said, adding that folks should “try to behave themselves, so they won’t end up in jail.”

The party was a wonderful surprise for Lila, but then she surprised all her guests by getting out of her wheelchair and walking across the room assisted by her walker.

Happy birthday Lila!