St. Joseph Woman Nears 110th Birthday

Published 01/23 2014 05:58PM

Updated 01/23 2014 10:17PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Helen Woods is about to turn 110.

And at a special birthday party at her former high school, students, friends, and church family came to support her Thursday.

She was given gifts; a few of her favorite things - Mountain Dew, cheese puffs, and stuffed animals.

And by her side was Joyce Edwards, her friend since the 1970s.

"When I signed a contract on my house, the people who sold it to me said she comes with the house," Edwards said.  "And from there we became good friends.  We have gone to church together, and now I'm her caregiver."

Helen also visited with students at Benton High School Thursday as part of the celebration.

She attended Benton, not the same school that sits in the Southside today, but the old Benton, the school on the hill.

Helen graduated in 1922.

"They said she'd be happy to meet us.  It was important for us to meet her and hear about what it was like when she came here.  It was really interesting," said McKynzie Inscho, student body president.
Inscho says meeting Helen made an impression on her and her classmates.

"There were a few times where I was trying not to tear up," the Benton senior said.  "It made me proud to be from Benton and it was so interesting."

Helen was a modern woman. She took a job as a bookkeeper for the Livestock Commission in her teens, and worked until retirement in 1972.

Edwards says there are few other theories as to how she's lived so long.

"She also doesn't smoke, has never smoked.  She doesn't drink," Edwards explains.  "And she has a strong faith.  And that strong faith causes her to be positive; she has a positive attitude and always looks for the good in any situation."

Helen Woods officially turns 110 on Saturday, January 25.

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