TEHACHAPI – Former Boron resident Kathryn Chwaz celebrated her 105th birthday on Jan. 15th; she left Boron to live with her niece Janet after celebrating her 100th birthday at the Boron Seniors Center in Boron surrounded by family, friends and Calif. State Assemblyman Tom Lackey in 2018.
Kathryn was born on Jan. 15, 1918, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; her parents were Catherine and Jacob Pointek who came to America from Austria when Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States and during the onset of World War I.
According to an interview she gave to Pat Gracey of the Tehachapi News and Local Happenings in the Tehachapi Loop, Kathryn was 10-years old when her brother Francis left for the seminary to study for the priesthood; he attended the Pontifical College Josephinum which was in Columbus, Ohio.
After reaching adulthood, Catherine and her older sister Mary decided to spread their wings and fly, moving to New York City, where they entered the workforce; the sisters soon discovered that even though it was not too far from home, it was far enough to discover the expenses of being on one's own. While working in New York City, Kathryn met her future husband Frank, and they were married in 1946; it was during this time that Kathryn's brother Francis (he was now a priest), wrote to them telling them about employment opportunities in California. Francis had been sent to the “missionary fields” in California where he learned about the U.S. Borax plant in Boron and that the mine paid well. Franks and Kathryn drove across the country and ended up settling in Randsburg where her brother became Pastor of the Santa Barbara Church; soon afterwards, the trio moved to Boron where Francis was also pastor of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
Kathryn’s husband Frank got hired onto U.S. Borax; working there until his retirement while Kathryn managed the Boron Department Store. At this time, Boron was booming so Kathryn asked her sister Anne to bring her two daughters Janet and Lois out to the area to live and work.
During her years in Boron, Kathryn was elected Honorary Mayor in 1957 and in 2007, Kathryn was elected again; 50-years after her first run.
Kathryn lived in Boron until she decided that “I shouldn’t live alone anymore” so her niece Janet graciously took Kathryn up to Tehachapi to live.
Before moving to Tehachapi, Kathryn was considered the “oldest living resident” in Boron when she celebrated her landmark 100th birthday with family, friends and members of the Boron Seniors Center; a cake was presented to Kathryn that held 100 candles to mark the occasion. Calif. State Assemblyman Tom Lackey presented Kathryn with a Certificate of Recognition marking her 100th birthday and we had the honor and privilege of attending both events.
The Mojave Desert News wants to wish Kathryn a very Happy 105th Birthday; we would also like to know your secret for such a long, happy and fruitful life. Congratulations Kathryn; Happy Birthday with many more to come.
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