At 106, she credits God, genes and chocolate SanTan Sun News
Santan Sun News Team
While Edna Margaret (Peirce) Minger isn’t Arizona’s oldest woman, she’s pretty damn close after turning 106 this month in her Chandler home.
Edna, whose sister in California looks to be 102 next March, may also be paying more attention to this story given that she spent several years as a reporter, according to her daughter, Sarah Auffret.
Born October 11, 1915 in Philip, South Dakota, Edna was one of eight children, ranking fifth in the pecking order with five brothers and two sisters.
“I was the most shy, my sisters were more outgoing and my five brothers were often loud,” she recalls, recalling her childhood in a small town where she walked everywhere and her family grew all of her own produce.
She went to college a year on a scholarship, but then ran out of money and had to quit, but continued as a pianist and church organist in her local church – a calling she has. kept no matter where she lived.
This activity also led to a 52-year marriage as she met her future husband while he was a soloist in church and needed a chaperone.
By profession he was a journalist, and after stints in Kansas and Iowa, Edna and her husband ended up in Oklahoma, where they owned a weekly small-town newspaper called The Tipton Tribune.
“I wrote about ordinary people and their activities,” she said. “When newcomers moved into the community, I would call them up and write a story about them. “
“Working in a newspaper took me out of my shyness,” she added. “It was one of the best things for me, because I had to get to know people.”
She remembers seeing Teddy Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge drive through town on their way to the Black Hills vacation in Custer, South Dakota, and seeing the two presidents greet each other from the train platform.
One of the historical events that she particularly remembers is the explosion of the Hindenburg in May 1937 as she had seen it up close the previous week during a visit to New Jersey.
She said her husband Allan “wrote the most important stories” but had a great thrill after retiring and being the editor of a newspaper in the larger neighboring town of Altus , Oklahoma, approached with a request.
“I was able to take a trip to Israel, which was a highlight of my life as I got to see so many places that I had read in the Bible,” Edna explained. “The editor of Altus asked me to write a story about it and they featured it in the Mother’s Day issue with my signature and a picture of me with a camel.”
The written press was not his only passion or occupation.
She was also a local church organist, president of the Garden Club and Methodist Women, and worked at Altus Air Force Base as a secretary for 10 years before retiring.
When she moved to Arizona in 2007, she lived in a nursing home in Chandler where she quickly took over the community’s flower gardens.
“She was proud of her roses, as she had had them all her life,” recalls her daughter.
Edna’s husband, Allan Minger, died in 1990. They had two children, Auffret and John. Edna has three grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Although her eyesight is not as good as it was when she worked in the newsroom, she still tries to read a newspaper every day.
“I was really into the presidential election stories,” she said. “I like to read stories about people doing interesting things.”
As for its longevity, she attributes it in part to genes – “I never thought I would live this long, however,” she added – and “dark chocolate almost every day.”
“I always walked a lot and did a lot of gardening until I was 102,” she added.
But Edna also gives God the greatest credit for her long and happy life.
“I pray every day and He watches over me,” she explained. “So I don’t care.”