Meals On Wheels of San Francisco

MOWSF Senior Katya

Meet Katya: Still Independent at 103!

Posted January 20, 2015

MOWSF Blog | Senior Stories

MOWSF Senior KatyaWhen MOWSF social worker Lara visits Katya, one of her favorite clients, she almost always brings a gift. Recently, on Katya’s 103rd birthday, Lara brought flowers and a soft MOWSF blanket. “Katya is still independent,” says Lara, who speaks with Katya in Russian. “She even showers on her own.”

Katya was born in a small village in Ukraine. When she was 20 years old, she and her family left the Soviet Union by foot. They walked at night and hid during the day. “We were afraid to get caught,” Katya says. Eventually they made it safely to China.

Katya met her husband through church. They wrote long-distance love letters until they could finally marry. Five of her seven children were born in China. Then Katya and her family moved to the Philippines and Paraguay before finally settling in the US in the late 50s.

MOWSF Senior Katya

Portraits of Katya and her late husband throughout the years sit on a dresser in her bedroom.

For many years, Katya’s husband was the pastor of a Russian-speaking church in San Francisco. And it’s in a house on the church grounds that she currently lives. Katya and her husband were married for 35 years. He died young at the age of 57 of heart problems. “He was a good man,” she remembers. “He never said a bad word to me.”

To stay active, Katya reads every day. And, unless it’s cold, she also walks around a small concrete patio for exercise. Standing up for long periods of time, however is difficult. Katya says getting meals from MOWSF is very helpful. She’s particularly fond of meals with eggs, meatballs or pasta.