The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 17, 2013

Somerset woman, 111, among world’s longest-lived people

SOMERSET — Alda Collins, a resident of The Patriot, a personal-care home in Somerset, really knows how to live.

Collins, who turned 111 years young July 26, now is the 50th oldest verified person in the world, 17th in the United States and second in Pennsylvania, according to the Gerontology Research Group, known as the world’s authority on validating supercentenarians.

A supercentenarian is a person 110 years of age or older.

Born in 1902 in Somerset County, Collins has voted in every election since 1919 – the past 20 years by absentee ballot – and has lived through 19 presidents, said her son, Jim Collins of Somerset.

She lived alone until she was 102, he said.

President Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House when she was born. Her favorite president was Ronald Reagan, her son said.

Alda Collins taught in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Somerset County, her son said.

Her late husband, William, was a veteran of World War I. William, who died in 1976, had owned and operated a barbershop in Somerset for 40 years, his son said.

He also had a shoeshine chair at his shop, where a shoeshine cost 25 cents.

“If anyone had great parents, I did,” Jim Collins said.

His mother is the oldest of nine children, he said. Only a sister, Virginia Hoover, 95, of the Somerset area, is living.

Alda Collins had one other son, William, who is deceased.

She has 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Early morning police raid in Prospect area leads to arrest warrant

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. this morning.

    April 18, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 18, 2014

  • new councilman Judge fills City Council vacancy

    A lifelong Johnstown resident who has never sought election to public office was named Thursday to fill the vacancy on City Council.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads