At 106, she credits God, genes and chocolat - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

At 106, she credits God, genes and chocolat

October 25th, 2021 development
At 106, she credits God, genes and chocolat

Santan Sun News Staff 

If Edna Margaret (Peirce) Minger isn’t the oldest woman in Arizona, she’s pretty darn close after turning 106 this month in her Chandler home.

Edna, whose sister in California looks to be 102 next March, also might be paying closer attention to this story given that she spent a number of years as a newspaper reporter, according to her daughter, Sarah Auffret.

Born Oct. 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 shy one, my sisters were more outgoing and my five brothers were often loud,” she recalled as she reminisced about her childhood in a small town where she walked everywhere and her family grew all their own produce.

She went to college one year on a scholarship but then ran out of money and had to quit, but she continued as a pianist and church organist at her local church – an avocation she maintained no matter where she lived.

That activity also led to a 52-year marriage as she met her future husband when he was a soloist at church and needed an accompanist.

By profession he was a newspaperman and after stints in Kansas and Iowa, Edna and her husband wound up in Oklahoma, where they owned a small-town weekly newspaper called The Tipton Tribune.

“I wrote about ordinary people and their activities,” she said. “When newcomers moved to the community, I’d call them and write a story about them.”

“Working at a newspaper got 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 both Teddy Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge come through town on their way to vacation in the Black Hills in Custer, South Dakota, and saw both presidents wave from the train platform.

One of the historical events that she especially remembers is the explosion of the Hindenburg in May 1937 because she had just seen it up close the week before during a visit to New Jersey.

She said her husband Allan “wrote the more important stories” but she got a big thrill after retiring and the editor of a paper in the larger neighboring town of Altus, Oklahoma, approached with a request.

“I got to take a trip to Israel, which was a highlight of my life since I got to see so many places I had read about in the Bible,” Edna explained. “The Altus editor asked me to write a story about it and they featured it in the Mother’s Day issue with my byline and a picture of me with a camel.”

Newspapering wasn’t her only passion or occupation.

She also was the local church’s organist, president of the garden club and Methodist Women and worked at Altus Air Force Base as a secretary for 10 years before she retired.

When she moved to Arizona in 2007, she lived in a Chandler retirement home where she quickly took over the community flower gardens.

“She took pride in her roses, as she had all her life,” he daughter recalled.

Edna’s husband, Allan Minger, died in 1990. They had two children, Auffret and John. Edna has three grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Though her eyesight isn’t as good as it was in her days 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 feature stories about people who are doing interesting things.”

As for her longevity, she attributes it partly to genes – “I never expected to live this long, however,” she added – and “dark chocolate almost every day.”

“I’ve always walked a lot and I did a lot of gardening until I was 102,” she added.

But Edna also gives God the most credit for her long and happy life.

“I pray every day and He watches over me,” she explained. “So I don’t worry.”