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Queen For A Day: Pittsburgh Woman Celebrates 107th Birthday

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There aren't too many people left who were alive for both the sinking of the Titanic and the election of the nation's first black president.

But, at 107-years-old, Janet Wharton, of the Hill District, is one of them.

Born in South Carolina on March 29, 1911, Wharton grew up in Pittsburgh, lived for a time in New York City, and eventually returned to the city where she and her five siblings were raised.

When KDKA visited her home on her birthday, Janet was wearing a crown, "reigning" as queen over her friends and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. While our cameras rolled, she faced a cake decorated with three huge candles -- "one-oh-seven" -- and blew them all out with one breath to the cheers of the group. She wouldn't say what she wished for!

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

So, did Janet avoid certain foods, or vices, or follow a special routine to make it to 107?

"I ate everything that was nailed down," she laughed. But she never smoked, "and I never did drink either, but maybe I should have."

Exercise was working, raising her late daughter, caring for her late husband and dancing to her favorite jazz and R&B songs.

As a young woman, Wharton trained as a beautician, operating Jan's Salon of Beauty starting in the mid-50s. She also went to school for nursing and worked as a private duty nurse, was well known for her beautiful voice, singing in the church choir, and for her cooking, baking and elaborate crafts, which she kept making up until a few years ago.

She traveled far and wide, with her favorite a trip to Hawaii, and enjoyed volunteering, especially with the church food bank.

She still loves to play cards and spend time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, like granddaughter Cynthia Wilson, who feels very lucky to still have her grandmother around after all these years.

"It's so unbelievable that my grandmother is here at 107-years-old, and it's a blessing that I can be here to see her," Wilson said.

Wharton is still in relatively good health, and has a sharp mind according to her family, who still take her wise advice.

And her advice for everyone, whether you're age 7 or 107?

"I try to enjoy every day. I didn't wait and say I'll do it tomorrow. I did it today," she said with a satisfied smile and a twinkle in her eye. "I've had a good life, thank the Lord. I don't know how much longer he's gonna let me stay here, but, I've had a good time!"

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