Northside Counts! 2020 Census

Two women with 203 years of life between them, both residents of Little Sisters of the Poor in Brighton Heights, celebrated their birthdays on June 17.

By NSC Staff

Photo courtesy of Little Sisters of the Poor

A birthday celebration “like no other” was recently held for two residents of Little Sisters of the Poor with 203 years of life between them.

On June 17, Kay Canyock and Mary Sahayda, who turned 100 and 103 years old respectively, were celebrated with a birthday parade of vehicles full of family, friends, and volunteers in the parking lot and front circle of the Brighton Heights nursing home on Benton Avenue. The parade was led by a police escort and nursing home residents were lined up in the front circle to wave.

Canyock, a Little Sisters resident for seven years, was born Kay Searle in 1920 in Bristol, England. She was delivered via home birth because of the short supply of doctors available at that time who were mostly tending to soldiers wounded in World War I. During World War II, she remembers wearing a green jumpsuit to work various jobs in the Women’s Land Army. She met her husband, Joseph Canyock, in Bristol as he was healing there after being wounded in France. After he married her, Joseph returned to the U.S. It took Canyock three years to get a visa and join him in Pittsburgh, where they raised a large family.

Sahayda, resident for two years, was born in 1917 and grew up in the Northside. She’s a hard worker who spent time as a private housekeeper, and had three children with her husband Michael. Her pierogies, especially the cabbage and cottage cheese ones, are famous at St. George Parish, the church she attended, and she helped to make them even with limited eyesight at the age of 95. Sahayda is an avid bingo player and has her bingo card memorized.

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