Sandpoint woman celebrates 100 years

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(Photo by MARY MALONE) Edna “Eddie” Drinkard of Sandpoint celebrated her 100th birthday Thursday with family and friends at Fifth Avenue Restaurant. From left, Linda and Brent Howell, Drinkards grandson and his wife; Edna “Eddie” Drinkard, the birthday girl; Tanya Howell, great-granddaughter; grandsons Kevin Mathews and Jan Howell; and daughters Royce Howell and Julie Mathews.

SANDPOINT — At 100 years old, Edna “Eddie” Drinkard still lives in her own home on Second Avenue, where she has lived since 1949.

Drinkard was joined by family and friends Thursday to celebrate her 100th birthday at Fifth Avenue Restaurant. As she anxiously awaited a piece of cake when her sweet tooth got the best of her, she said she had not thought much about turning 100.

"When I was 99 I thought that was good enough," she said. "I didn't know I would get up to 100, but I guess I did."

Drinkard was born and raised in Spokane and when she married her late husband, Harold Drinkard, they moved to Pullman for 12 or 13 years, she said.

"I just loved it down there," Drinkard said.

Her husband's job moved them to Sandpoint in 1949, and while she said she never knew anything about Sandpoint before then, it became her home. She worked as a secretary at the First Lutheran Church for 40 years.

Drinkard's husband died 15 years ago, when he and Drinkard were both 85 years old. Her daughter, Royce Howell, said the two were soul mates, so his passing was very hard on her mother.

Howell moved from Alaska to help out her mother after her father died, and Howell's son and Drinkard's grandson, Jan Howell, is preparing to move from San Diego to help her out as well. Royce Howell said her mom has had some surgeries — she broke her hip about two years ago — but otherwise is in fair health.

Howell said Drinkard has relatives who lived to be over 100, so longevity seems to run in the family.

Drinkard's great-granddaughter, Tanya Howell, sang a special "Happy Birthday" to Drinkard before the rest of the group sang. Howell, of San Diego, is a member of five different bands and travels with them on a regular basis, so she was excited to make her way to Sandpoint to see her great-grandmother.

"It's amazing," she said of her great-grandmother turning 100. "I'm glad I was able to come up here and celebrate with her. I am very, very happy about that."

Jan Howell also said it was amazing to see his grandma turn 100, but said she is a strong woman with strong family support.

"I just can't imagine my grandma not being here," he said.

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