108-year-old Manatawny Manor resident: A long life, well lived

Pottstown, Pa.    Friday, June 21, 2013

When you’ve celebrated 108 birthdays, people want to know the secret to your long life. Sophie Voynar, who hit that milestone in late spring, has this advice: Always listen to your parents, stay out of trouble, and work hard.

A resident of Manatawny Manor, a Diakon Senior Living Community in Pottstown, Pa,, Voynar did all of those. The oldest daughter in her family of four boys and four girls, she attended a one-room school, completing six grades.

At 14, she obtained her first job, washing glasses and setting tables at a Pottsville hotel near the tiny village of Caska, where she was born. A “working girl” all her life, Voynar didn’t slow down much even after retiring. She filled her days volunteering in the pharmacy at Pottstown Medical Center and reading to kindergarteners at local schools.  

Sophie Voynar is greeted on her 108th birthday by state Sen. Andrew Dinniman.

Sophie Voynar is greeted on her 108th birthday by state Sen. Andrew Dinniman.


Today, she still keeps busy, participating in activities such as Wii bowling and bingo every day, sharing stories with other residents, and getting her hair and nails done regularly. Everyone knows her, says Janet Swiecicki, Manatawny Manor activities director.

“We are her family,” Manatawny Manor staff say.

“She is very endearing to people,” Swiecicki says. “She never gives up, just goes with the flow.”

Of course, living more than a century means Voynar has outlived most of her family and friends. Her husband and son are gone; one brother, in his 90s, is still living.

“We are her family,” Swiecicki says. “Earlier this year, she was invited to a staff member’s wedding. Her nurses would do anything for her. She’s just Sophie.”

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