Katharine Dean Cordts

Happy hometown gal: 108-year-old Katharine Dean Cordts from Kingston



Photograph by Jennifer May

Katharine Dean Cordts, 108, has lived in Kingston her entire life. In fact, besides the couple of years she spent in the dorms at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx (“I loved everything about it,” she recalls), she has resided within shouting distance of the St. Joseph Church and School, where she graduated from the eighth grade in 1918 and married her husband eight years later. In between, she attended Kingston High School. “I was a busy mama,” she says about staying home to raise four children. After being widowed in 1962, Cordts began a 10-year teaching stint, ultimately ending up at — you guessed it — the St. Joseph School, where current Kingston Mayor Shane R. Gallo was one of her students. “I loved the kids and they loved me,” she says. They still do — many former students and their children make regular pilgrimages to visit the dedicated teacher. She fondly recalls now-defunct treasures from old Kingston, including the trolley cars that ran in front of her childhood home and the carousel at Kingston Point Park. “It was a wonderful life,” she says. “In my day, everything was wonderful. I suppose today things are more complicated.” And the secret to her longevity? “Laughter,” Cordts says. “Well, maybe it’s always adding salt to my food. And butter. You should like food.”

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