When Ira Edwards of Cedaredge greets you with his broad, confident smile and firm handshake saying, "It's been a lot of fun and a lot of years," you know he means it. That's because he is living it.
Edwards, his wife, Marie, and many family members have been observing his 100th birthday which took place on March 13.
Growing up on an Arizona homestead, serving in WWII, working as a contractor, a farmer, a carpenter, and an inventor, being a pilot and flight instructor, and serving as a preacher of God's Word have all been part of an active life filled with family, friends, community, and as he says, "fun."
Ira was born "in the middle of seven brothers and sisters." An older brother also celebrated a 100th birthday. And another notable in his family is an older sister many people in Delta County will know of: author Murial Marshall.
Ira said his dad was an electrician who took the family from Kansas to homestead 640 acres in Northern Arizona near the town of Fredonia. They lived in a dugout with rafters of cedar and, explains Marie, Ira's wife of 45 years, during a recent visit to the childhood home some of the original rafters were still in place. Ira said they also met a number of friends and acquaintances from his youth.
It was a simple life and a good one growing up in a beautiful rural area with a small community. But it was a rugged life too. Ira explained that his dad was told the family's 640-acre homestead could support no more that 15 cows.
Ira is a Navy veteran who served as a motor machinist's mate on an auxiliary ship in the Pacific theater. Later he got his pilot's license and was a flight instructor.
Ira has always been active in his work life but didn't neglect other parts of life. He served as a lay pastor for the Olathe Church of Christ for 17 years. "We are a Christian family," Marie said.
Family members have been coming in groups to observe Ira's birthday. "It only happens once in a lifetime," Ira says with a laugh. On the 13th, son Bud and Bud's daughter, Andrea, arrived from their home on the Texas Gulf Coast for a surprise visit.
Ira got an extra special birthday from Bud's daughter in Denver who gave birth to a new baby just two days before Ira's 100th birthday last week.Life goes on.