WWII nurse celebrates 99th birthday in northern California

YREKA, Ca. — A northern Californian woman celebrated her 99th birthday in style today.

Honking cars, St. Patrick’s themed cupcakes and reuniting with old friends – this sums up Nickie Meek’s surprise birthday get-together.

“My life’s work was nursing, I went to school at Ann Arbor to become a nurse and then World War II descended on us,” said Meek.

She joined the Navy and was stationed at a naval hospital in the Bay Area.

“I specifically worked the malaria ward for a good year, so I had a lot of patients, and one them was my future husband.”

Originally from Michigan, Nickie married Harry Meek and moved to his tiny hometown of Yreka in 1945. She’s been here ever since.

Both of her sons still live here, and make sure she’s well taken care of, not that she can’t handle herself.

“We have a good time talking politics, she’s sharp as a tack, she reads a book a day, I mean, she’s been through every book in the library,” said her youngest son, Brian Meek.

The isolation during the pandemic hasn’t been easy on her, but Meek is feeling hopeful.

“There’s a German word that means if you’re not out in public, you kind of go into yourself and don’t have people around you, and I thought I was feeling that way,” Meek said.

Though she’s happy to tell you of her German heritage, she feels lucky to have her birthday on St. Patrick’s Day.

“It’s a happy day, it always has been. I don’t know, I guess the Irish are happy and they’re drinkers,” she said.

It’s no surprise, this birthday girl says optimism is the key to a long, happy and healthy life.

“I think attitude in life has a lot to do with it and like I said, a sense of humor.”

Meek also has 3 grandchildren.

She says in her free time, she enjoys knitting, reading and traveling when she can.

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