Julia Kabance 1910-2021

Julia Kabance, oldest US female WWII vet and Potawatomi, dies at 111

The oldest member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and the oldest known living female American veteran of World War II has died, it has been reported.

Julia Y. Kabance, a former resident of the Potawatomi reservation in Jackson County and a veteran of the Women’s Army Air Corps during WWII, died Tuesday, Nov. 16 in Wamego at the age of 111. Kabance had been a resident of St. Marys in recent years, it was reported.

Potawatomi Tribal Chairman Joseph “Zeke” Rupnick called Kabance “an inspiration” to the tribe.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our oldest member, Julia Kabance,” Rupnick said. “She was a proud member of the We-Ta-Se American Legion Post 410 for her service in World War II. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.”

Kabance was born Aug. 10, 1910, on the Potawatomi reservation, the 11th of 12 children born to Frank and Mary Kabance, and was named after an older sister who died at the age of 7. She grew up on a farm on the reservation and went to Haskell Institute, now known as Haskell Indian Nations University, and attended The University of Kansas for a semester.

On March 17, 1943, Kabance, then 32, joined the U.S. Army and became part of the Women’s Army Corps during WWII. She remained in the Army for 33 months, serving as a clerical worker, primarily in the Tacoma, Wash. area.

After leaving the Army, Kabance returned to Kansas to take care of her mother, returning to military work shortly after her mother’s death. She worked for the U.S. Air Force in Topeka until the base’s closure, then worked as an accountant for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington state, then on the East Coast and again in the Northwest.

Kabance, who never married nor had children, retired form the military in 1972 while living in Fort Lewis, Wash. She returned to the Topeka area and served as a volunteer for the Veterans Administration and the Catholic church, including a long tenure at the Topeka Veterans Affairs Medical Center, it was reported.

For more on this and other stories, log in to your holtonrecorder.net account and select the Nov. 24, 2021 edition under “E-Editions.”

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Holton, KS 66436
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