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Emma Pomije turns 100
It was a day to remember. On Thursday, Jan. 10, Emma Pomije, a lifelong resident of Montgomery, reached a milestone only a lucky few get to experience –– her 100th birthday. She celebrated the special day with family and friends at Traditions of Montgomery. After "Happy Birthday" was sang and the cake was cut, Emma shared some memories from her well-lived life.
Emma (Kukacka) grew up in Montgomery and married Joe Pomije in 1929. They lived on a farm near Lake Pepin their entire married lives, and had one daughter, Shirley.
In addition to working the farm, the couple rented the Alba Bar & Restaurant (now the Monty Bar) from 1951-54. She then worked at the Red Owl for few years before finding her life's work at Munsingwear, where she worked as a seamstress, floor manager and then trainer for over 20 years. When she found herself with time on her hands, Emma loved to garden.
With 100 years of history to recollect, Emma was asked what one event stands out the most to her. She recalled with great clarity, the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940. The raging blizzard that caught everyone by surprise blew in on November 11 (now called Veterans Day), leaving up to 27 inches of snow with snowdrifts up to 20 feet high.
Emma remembers this day so vividly because Joe was caught in the blizzard while delivering milk. She recalled how the snow became too heavy for him to drive home in so he borrowed a coat from someone at the gas station (now Casey's) and walked the entire way home in the terrible storm.
Her family had many loving things to say about Emma and her loving role in the family: "I have many great memories of visiting her and grandpa when I was a boy," commented her grandson, Rocky Stangler. "We lived in the city of Columbia Heights, so it was a lot of fun to go to the farm and chase chickens around."
"She is such a special lady," her great-granddaughter Sheri Novotny added. "It's hard to believe she's 100."
Emma has a very positive outlook on life, and especially enjoys time spent with her family, which includes two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren. Her passion is crafting, and her specialty is making desk-top flags that she hand stitches, then attaches to a small pole that fits into a wooden base made by Rocky.
When asked what keeps her going strong, Emma replied: "Hard work –– every day." And she had these words of advice for the younger generations: "Work together, help each other and treat everyone nicely."