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Its happy 100th birthday for Lake Oswegos Edith Beach

Longevity is linked to good country living
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Edith Beach celebrates her 100th birthday at Carman Oaks Senior Living Community Tuesday.

Edith Beach celebrated her 100th birthday at a large gathering of friends and family at Carman Oaks Senior Living Community in Lake Oswego Tuesday.

Edith grew up in a large family with five brothers and two sisters, said Carolee Neighorn, Carman Oaks marketing director.

She spent her earliest years in Newburg and Dundee where her dad bought a prune orchard.

'I'm a champion prune picker,' Edith said.

The family moved to Corvallis when Edith was 12 and after graduating from Corvallis High School as its valedictorian in 1926, Edith worked at a restaurant to pay for college at what was then Oregon State Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). She graduated with a teaching degree and then taught high school classes for many years in several different schools, eventually landing in Portland.

She married in 1936 and gave birth to a daughter, Wilma, a year later, Neighorn said.

Edith joined the Portland Police Bureau as a temporary worker and attended the Police Academy to train for a permanent position. She graduated the only woman in a class of 40 in 1947. She served in the Women's Protective Division for 20 years, retiring as a sergeant in 1967.

'We mainly worked in the community and with runaway girls and boys under 12,' she recalled.

Two of Edith's earliest memories are of the flu epidemic in 1918, which her family all survived with the help of an aunt and uncle who came to take care of them. And when she was 4, the school-aged children brought home whooping cough and her two-week- old brother almost died from it because there were no cures for it then.

'I am a very disciplined person,' Edith said. 'I have always been careful about what I eat. I don't eat between meals and choose only desserts I really like so as not to eat a lot of rich or fatty food. I don't eat junk food.'

When asked why she thinks she has lived so long she responded, ' I always walked all over and living on the farm we had really good food and fresh air.'

Edith moved to Carman Oaks Retirement Residence in 2000 where she still walks and does a half hour of exercises every day.

'I loved the farm life with fresh air, animals, and good food,' Edith said. 'Life was so simple. I couldn't have had a better childhood.'