Saratoga County

Low-key celebration marks local woman’s 107th birthday

They say it’s rude to ask a woman’s age, and maybe it’s also rude to point out that when Jennie Patt

They say it’s rude to ask a woman’s age, and maybe it’s also rude to point out that when Jennie Pattist says she’s 16, she’s really 91 years shy of the truth.

“She asked if I knew today was her birthday,” said Pattist’s grandson, Patrick Barton. “She says she’s 16.”

Not exactly. Pattist turned 107 on Wednesday at Wesley Health Care Center, where she has lived for a little more than a year.

Dressed in a yellow turtleneck sweater, her favorite color, Pattist thumbed through a photo album of her life and then ate bites of birthday cake with two of her grandsons nearby.

Pattist didn’t have much to say on her birthday but broke into a bright smile when Wesley staff sang to her. Barton said Pattist was likely to soon forget the fanfare of singing and cake and the commotion of TV cameras and media crowding around.

“An hour from now she’ll fall asleep,” he said.

Pattist may be one of the oldest people in the area, but she still has a ways to go to become the oldest person in the U.S. Right now, Neva Morris of Iowa, who celebrated her 114th birthday in August, holds that distinction.

Jennie Towers was born in 1903, the year a typhoid vaccine was discovered, the first modern World Series was played and the Wright brothers made their first flight at Kittyhawk.

She was raised in Corinth on a dairy farm that is now Brookhaven Golf Course and then spent most of her life in the home she and her husband, John, owned in the village.

Its big yard contained flower and vegetable gardens, and grandson Aaron Barton attributes his grandmother’s longevity to those wholesome vegetables she grew and canned herself.

“She told me the only thing she would buy from the store is sugar,” Aaron said.

She turned 18 and married John Pattist of East Williamson in 1921, the year women were granted the right to vote.

John made a living working on the dairy farm owned by Jennie’s brother, Gill and Towers Dairy in Corinth. He died in 1990.

She lived there by herself until she was about 101, then got in-home help, culminating in around-the-clock care.

Pattist had a daughter, Marge Barton, who died recently at age 74, and a son who died years ago. She has four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Patrick Barton, 44, grew up in Saratoga Springs and has fond memories of visiting his grandmother in Corinth.

“Every Sunday we’d go to Gram’s, and she would have a spread of food. It was always good,” he said.

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