By: Michelle Simon
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation’s oldest living member and veteran, Julia Kabance turns 109 on August 10, 2019.
Today a birthday celebration was held for Kabance at the Good Samaritan Society-Valley Vista nursing home located in Wamego, Kansas. The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribal Council along with a few elders from the community attended the event.
The celebration began at 2 p.m. with an introduction by Valley Vista Administrator Justin Williams, followed by recognition from the Good Samaritan Society Regional Vice President Randy Fitzgerald, Dan Holdhusen on behalf of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s office, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribal Chairman Joseph Rupnick, Anthony Bruno on behalf of Senator Pat Roberts office, and Captain Paul Weckman (retired) presented her with the Sanford Health Veteran’s coin. To conclude the event, attendees sang Happy Birthday to Kabance and cake was served.
“I don’t feel like I’m 109, I feel like I’m 50!” Kabance stated. She was in great spirits and remains spry as ever.
Kabance was born on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation in 1910, the 11th out of 12 children born to Frank and Mary Kabance. Kabance pursued her education at Haskell Institute (now Haskell Indian Nations University) and later attended the University of Kansas. On March 17, 1943 she joined the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) during World War II and was stationed at McChord Air Force Base in Washington state in the Adjutant Corps. In 1945, after a case of measles, Kabance’s hearing was impaired and she became a disabled veteran. Kabance is a life-member of the American Legion We-Ta-Se Post 410.
Throughout her life Kabance has found great joy in volunteering and working with veterans. She spent many years in service at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka, Kansas, as well as volunteering with the Catholic Church.
There is a high probability that Kabance is also the oldest living female in the state of Kansas. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Office of Vital Statistics does not keep record of the oldest living Kansan, however in an article published by the Kansas City Metro Voice on June 14, 2018, they reported the then oldest woman in Kansas, Edna Martha Shaffer, age of 108, had passed away.
If any tribal member would like to extend their well wishes to Kabance they can send a card to:
C/O Good Samaritan-Valley Vista
2011 Grandview Drive
Wamego, KS 66547