At 101, Port Angeles man still has a mean chess game
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
Edgar Edwards sits with granddaughter Shadee Roderick of Port Angeles at his 101st birthday party Sunday in Port Angeles.

By Arwyn Rice

PORT ANGELES — After a century and one year, Edgar Edwards still has it in him to enter his own birthday party unaided, crack jokes, tease his family and friends — and beat them at chess.

More than 50 people were on hand at Park View Villas in Port Angeles to mark Edwards' 101st birthday party Sunday.

Edwards was born July 15, 1912, in Kirbyville in southern Missouri, the sixth of 10 children born to Dave and Dora Edwards, and the last one who is still living.

But his three daughters all live nearby.

Gloria Fogelberg, 72, of Seattle, Lola Anderson of Port Angeles and Oleta Roderick, also of Port Angeles, were by Edwards' side to help mark the milestone birthday Sunday.

His son, Gordon Edwards, who was a partner with Aldergrove Construction of Port Angeles, died in 2008 at the age of 65.

Edwards has eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren — and one on the way.

He said he plays a chess game on the computer every day.

“All of these people, and I can't find any chess players,” he said, gesturing toward his fellow residents at Park View Villas.

His grandson, Steve Roderick, 42, of Seattle, said that when he comes to visit Edwards, he is inevitably drawn into a chess game with his grandfather.

“He almost always wins,” Roderick said, sporting a rueful grin.

In addition to chess, Edwards loves gardening, a legacy of his early days as a farmer in Missouri.

He has spent much of his life outdoors.

After his farming days, he worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, building roads and bridges in the 1930s.

“It was like being in the service. We lived in tents and sent paychecks back home,” he said.

Edwards and his late wife, Ruby Hampton, who died in 2009, moved to Port Angeles in 1945.

“They came for a visit and never left,” daughter Lola Anderson said, shooting a smile at her father.

Edwards retired in 1977, after spending 32 years as a watchman at Rayonier, but retirement didn't slow him down very much.

A photo layout of Edwards displayed at the party showed him active in outdoors activities, even using a chain saw at age 90.

Asked how the world has changed since he was growing up, Edwards seemed stumped.

“It's so much different you wouldn't believe it. I wouldn't know where to start,” he said.

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 14. 2013 6:23PM
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