Watch CBS News

World War II Enigma Codebreaker And Pittsburgher Julia Parsons Turning 100 This Week

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- In just a few days, a Pittsburgh woman will be celebrating a major milestone; she'll be 100-years-old!

Julia Parsons has committed much of her life to her family, service, and hiding secrets.

It was a remarkable time in our history.

World War II, which lasted for years, was also the beginning of a new wave.

A wave that Julia Parsons was a part of.

"I had, had such a fantastic job, it was such an interesting time in my life," Parsons said. "It was really nice."

While in college, Parsons volunteered for the Navy WAVES — "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service."

It was her time there that eventually led her to become part of a select group of women.

"Somebody came in and asked does anybody know German? I raised my hand because I had two years of German in high school," Parsons said.

Parsons said she was the only one to have raised her hand, but it was that moment that would forever change her life.

She became an Enigma code-breaker and helped uncover the location of German U-boats.

"We had to keep it a secret because the Germans had no idea the allies had the ENIGMA machine," she said.

It was during that time she met her husband, who was in the Army and they eventually made their way back to Pittsburgh.

Now, years later, Parsons enjoys sharing her stories that were once heavily guarded secrets.

She has also found herself involved with the Veterans Breakfast Club.

To celebrate her 100th birthday, on Tuesday, the non-profit hosted a parade near her home in Forest Hills.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Jeremy Stockdill)
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Jeremy Stockdill)

WATCH: Julia Parsons' Birthday Celebration

It's an age she's still working to accept.

"The first card I opened up, was one of these automatic 100 on it, and I thought, 100? What's this? And it dawned on me, this was a card for my birthday for 100 years old," Parsons said.

Local first responders and servicemen will lead the parade at noon. Everyone is invited to attend.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.