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Golden Years

Tuesday, March 17, 1998

Withers marks 90th birthday with party

Staff Writer
A former teacher, avid artist and active member of the First
Baptist Church was honored with a birthday party recently
and praised for her many accomplishments.

Edna Withers was born March 7, 1918, one of five children.
"We lived on a ranch, until my older brother was old enough
to attend school," said Withers.

She celebrated her 90th birthday recently, complete with
cake and all the trimmings. Friends and family gathered at
the First Baptist Church to honor Withers, a long-time Pecos
resident, including her younger brother and sister.

Withers describes her childhood with fondness, remembering
the times she spent on the ranch, when there was no
electricity, running water or inside bathroom.

"We had a garden and raised our own food, we had cows,
chickens and pigs," said Withers.

Withers grew up on that ranch in Toyah, which at the time
was bigger than Pecos.

"It was a railroad stop, and attracted more people," said

The ranch was located about 20 miles from Toyah and the
family lived by one of the irrigation ditches. "The ditch
water was supplied by Phantom Lake, which runs by the
streets of Balmorhea now," said Withers.

Withers stated that this same stream flows into San Solomon
springs and is used by farmers and ranchers.

"We later moved into Pecos to attend school," said Withers.

Edna's family included her parents and her siblings, Nathan,
Ruby, Stanley and Truett. Of the five children there are
still alive, including Edna, Ruby and Truett.

Both her brother and sister were on hand for the special

Withers completed her high school education in Pecos,
attended Baylor College for one year and got a teacher's
certificate. "I got a loan from the church for $300 and
that's how I paid for my first year there, along with a job
in the dining hall," she said.

Withers' later received extra college credits from Sul Ross
State Teacher's College.

"I eventually paid that loan off and my sister got to use
that same money to attend college," Withers said.

Withers achieved many things during her college years. She
was named Most Beautiful one year, was on the winning swim
team and graduated Salutatorian in 1926, from Baylor College
in Belton, Tx.

The first school she taught in was in Toyah, and she
remained a teacher there for three years. She received a
better offer from Barstow and went to teach school there.

"I remember I made $125 a month, of course, this was during
the depression," she said.

She received a raise in Barstow and taught there for three
years, then went to Fort Stockton to teach.

"It was while I was teaching at Fort Stockton that I first
met my husband," said Withers.

Buddy Withers came to Pecos in 1930 from Hamlin, Tx., and
was a coach and principal. The couple married in 1934 and
had been married for over 50 years when he died in 1981, of
Parkinson's disease.

"I met him at a teacher's meeting before I moved to Fort
Stockton and after I moved he would travel over there to see
me or I would come into Pecos," said Withers.

The couple dated for four years before tying the knot. "We
waited so long because at the time he was helping to support
his mother and two sisters," she said.

Buddy became active in the church and started teaching boys
classes. "All the boys wanted to be in his class, because he
made it so much fun," said Withers.

Buddy was also senior class sponsor during his teaching

"He later got a job offer from Foxworth Steel Company and
went to work for them for 23 years before retiring in 1961,"
said Withers. "He was also a deacon for First Baptist for 55
years and performed at funerals and banquets," she said.

In the meantime, Edna was busy with children, sharing her
love of music and her talents with the little ones.

"We started a rhythm band and at one time had over 40
children attending," said Withers.

Withers and other volunteers made little capes for the
children and taught them to play different instruments.

"We were invited to perform in the middle of a football and
all the children were so excited," she said.

Edna played the drums in high school and taught some of the
children how to play them also. "Some of these children
still attend this church," she said.

Withers herself learned to play the cello from the music
teachers son. "At first they didn't want a music teacher,
but this new preacher came into town and said he would be
willing to pay the teacher for a few months if we were to
get him, because he believed this would attract more
people," said Withers.

The new preacher eventually convinced the Barstow church to
get the music teacher and later Toyah. "After that Pecos
parishioners wanted to get the teacher also," she said.

"He got me to get a cello and later on his wife taught their
son and he turned around and taught me how to play it," said

Withers also played percussion, which included the whole
set. "They said they wanted me to play all of this because I
had rhythm," she said.

Withers still remains active both in the church and in other
activities. She is a longtime member of the Pecos Art
Association, which meets once a month.

They were honored in January, for being charter members of
the group who started out just "dabbling" with a paintbrush.
The two were presented with the club's yearbook.

Withers was the first president the club had when it was
first formed and states that she still loves "dabbling" with
the paintbrush.

Millers celebrate wedding anniversary

A reception was held on Feb. 14, at the Fellowship Hall of
First United Methodist Church, hosted by the children and
grandchildren of Emmett and Mary Miller, to honor them on
the occasion of their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

The couple was married in that same church on Feb. 15, 1948,
with Mary's great uncle, Rev. Charles Jameson, pastor of
First Methodist Church in Odessa, officiating.

The hall was beautifully decorated in colors of ivory and
gold with touches of blue. Many floral appointments and
candelabra were arranged at vantage points. The three-tiered
cake, punch and Mexican wedding cookies were served by Libby
Horsburgh, Doris Loose and K.C. Miller. The silver cake
server used to serve the cake, was a wedding gift to the
couple and was used to serve the original wedding cake.

A "Table of Memories" was decorated with ivory tulle and a
white floral table arrangement. The table included the
bride's dress, the wedding book, handkerchief carried by the
bride and the blue garter she wore. Also a copy of the
marriage certificate and many pictures and memorabilia of
their early days.

Special piano selections were furnished throughout the
reception by Becky Patterson.

A host of friends and relatives attended including seven of
Mary's Pecos High School classmates.

Mary and Emmett are longtime residents of Pecos. Mary came
to Pecos from Lubbock with her parents, the late Arthur and
Ellen Martin, in 1942.

Emmett, son of the late T.C. and Lydia Miller of Talpa, Tx.,
came to Pecos in 1946 after being discharged from the United
States Army.

Out of town guests attending the celebration came from Fort
Worth, San Antonio, Natalia, Midland, San Angelo, Odessa,
Fort Stockton, Albuquerque, N.M., Lubbock and Dallas.

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Pecos Enterprise
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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