Kathleen Snavely, the 113-year-old Syracuse woman born in Ireland who is now the longest living person in Irish history, marked the milestone yesterday with her signature pride and reserve.
The milestone was historic and a few of Kathleen’s close friends joined her as the top political official in the county, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney – herself of Irish descent – paid a visit to congratulate Kathleen. So did the Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner.
Snavely is not fond of discussing her age and, to date, has been very reluctant to talk to the media, with the exception of Sean Kirst, a journalist with the local Syracuse Post-Standard.
"I get so tired of people asking me about my secret. I've got no secret," she told Kirst at her 113th birthday party. "You live and you do it the best you can."
Mahoney arrived with flowers and an ear to listen to Snavely’s stories. Along with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, she helped declare last St. Patrick’s Day Kathleen Snavely Day.
One of those in attendance yesterday told IrishCentral that the day was about respecting Kathleen’s privacy while recognizing the importance of the moment. The meeting between Snavely and Mahoney was described as wonderfully powerful, as Kathleen shared stories of her life when she came to the United States and memories of her early years with her family in Ireland.
Everyone was in awe over the fact that after 93 years in the US, Kathleen still has her Irish accent.
And they ended the day with a song: