Kathryn Hodges

Sean Adams/WCBS 880

Stories From Main Street: 98-Year-Old Emerson, N.J. Nurse Has No Plans To Retire

June 24, 2018 - 4:04 pm

EMERSON, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- Kathryn Hodges isn't looking forward to retirement – the 98-year-old is running away from it.

As WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported in this week’s edition of Stories from Main Street, Hodges is the oldest active nurse practitioner in the state of New Jersey.

It is difficult to believe, but the energetic woman with the white coat and white hair, who checks blood pressure at the Emerson Senior Center, is nearly 100.

“It’s hard to believe you could get to be that old and be here half your life,” Hodges said.

Hodges turns 99 this year, and she has been Emerson’s nurse for 51 years.

Kathryn Hodges' Nursing Diploma
Sean Adams/WCBS 880

“She’s been licensed for 77 continuous years,” said Emerson Borough Administrator Robert Hoffman. “I believe Kay is the oldest continuously practicing nurse at the state of New Jersey.”

Some of Hodges’ patients at the senior center are 20 years younger.

“They can come in if they have little problems, and some of them have major problems, which they try to ignore,” she said, “and when they come in, it’s, you know, my job to kind of convince them that they better get to the doctor.”

Hodges just loves being a nurse.

Kathryn Hodges
Sean Adams/WCBS 880

“People have always been very special to me. Maybe being an only child, people are important to me, and if I can be of help, you know, that’s what I want to do,” she said.

Hodges provides more than just a medical checkup. She’s a friend.

“Some of them have lonesome-itis, I call it, because, you know, their spouse has died, and they’re getting up there in years, and they’re just lonesome,” she said.

J.B. Hodges marvels at his mother. He is already semi-retired.

“Radio can’t see you’re shaking your head, but that’s really – you just shake your head in astonishment,” he said.

Mrs. Hodges grew up in Emerson and graduated from Westwood High School in 1937. She joined a nursing program at Hackensack Hospital a year later and has never looked back.

As to retirement, Hodges said that will not be happening.

“When the good Lord calls me home, and I’m able to do this till then, that’s what I want to do,” she said.