Woman, 107, shares secrets of long life

May 23, 2012 5:50:31 PM PDT
Kora Hollinger remembers when the Titanic sank. She once told basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain he had a foul mouth and she loves fast food. Now, Hollinger, who is now 107 years old, is revealing her secrets for a long life.

Hollinger loves basketball. She's the oldest fan at St. Agnes Academy.

"Seeing her there, it makes me want to push myself," said Shea Silvernail, a junior at the school and a fan of Kora.

She played herself back in the 1920s.

"Top senior team, too, in the state of Kansas," she said.

She taught her grandkids, one of whom became a coach.

"She'd always come out in the driveway with a basketball and she would teach us how to do certain shots," said coach Jeff Hollinger, who's also Kora's grandson.

Kora was born in 1905.

"So why do you think you've lived to 107?" we asked her.

"Oh well, just being smart," she said jokingly.

"She's touched so many people and she's just so funny and so inspiring and not your ordinary grandma," said Kora's granddaughter, Ann Hollinger Butenas.

Ann wrote a book about her not-so-ordinary grandma, including photos of Kora at 100, relaxing in a hot tub with a margarita; at 103, riding a motorcycle with grandson Jeff, and at 105, wearing a black leather Lady Gaga outfit for a British photographer, despite her son's plea not to.

"He immediately said 'Don't do it grandma,'" Kora said.

At 107, she's not a picture of perfect health. Kora does have back pain, a broken arm and her hearing is nearly gone. But she's the same feisty woman who still loves life.

"I'm just a sly little girl," she said jokingly.

So we wanted to know: what's her secret?

"Lots of grease," Kora said.

And lots of salt.

"Sometimes she'd just take the top off the salt shaker and just dump it on," said Dr. Blaine Hollinger, Kora's son.

"Nothing wrong with it. If it doesn't hurt your stomach and you don't get sick, what's wrong with it then?" she said.

And praying before meals? Kora says, OK, but keep it short.

"Make you darn mad that you'd want to be eating, you know," she said.

And here are a few of Kora's other tips:

1. Eat whatever you want
2. Be active
3. Laugh a lot
4. Let go of anger
5. And pick your parents well

"It really comes down to genetics, in many cases. She's been lucky she hasn't had a cancer," Dr. Blaine Hollinger said.

And more thing: Keep young friends!

"She finally decided several years ago to start recruiting people in their 20's and 30's to be her pallbearers because she thought they might actually be alive when she died," Kora's daughter-in-law, Judy Hollinger, said jokingly.

"I've lived a decent life and that's all you have to do," Kora said.


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