Edna Callahan to celebrate 100th birthday

Kathryn SwanJ-C Correspondent
Edna Callahan to celebrate 100th birthday

Long-time Pawhuska resident Edna Callahan is celebrating her 100th birthday this Saturday at the Pawhuska Community Center located at the corner of Main and Lynn Avenue. Her birthday party kicks off at 11 a.m. and will continue until 3 p.m. Friends are invited to drop by and help this fine lady celebrate her birthday in style.

Edna was born April 18, 1915, to Phillip and Drucie (Proctor) Hyde. She was a toddler when her family moved to Pawhuska. She graduated from PHS in 1933 and in 1939 married W.B. (Red) Callahan. Before his death in 1958, Red owned and operated a heavy-construction business. To their union were born four children - Betty Jean, Wilson Bryan and the late Patricia Kay and Joan Gay.

Many folks will remember Edna through her association with the Pawhuska City Hospital where she served as Office Manager for 25 years until retiring at the age of 70. Edna is one of Osage County’s true pioneers, having lived through the Great Depression and Oklahoma Dust Bowl. “We lived south of the First National Bank during the dust bowl,” said Edna. “I was pretty small but remember that no matter how much we tried to seal off the house, dust would filter in and cover everything.”

Edna was in high school when the depression hit. Since her family didn’t own a car, the family had to walk everywhere – including school. “My brothers, Jess and Raymond, would walk up to Main Street and catch a ride to school,” recalled Edna. My baby brother Herbert and sister, Grace (Javellas) and I weren’t so lucky. We had to walk to school every day no matter how bad the weather got. Times were tight. Grace and I were about the same size. We had two dresses and would switch back and forth each day so it didn’t appear that we were wearing the same dress each day.”

Edna’s dad Phillip was an engineer for the Pawhuska Ice Plant. After he was electrocuted in a freak accident, mom Drucie went to work at the Duncan Hotel as a dish washer in order to help support her family.

“My biggest adventure was when Red and I traveled to California with his double cousin Liz and her husband Ralph White,” said Edna. “We stayed there for about a year while Red worked for a ship yard. When I became pregnant with Joan, we decided to move back home. We really missed Pawhuska. About the only good thing I liked about California was the abundance of beautiful flowers. I could walk down the block and purchase a bouquet of roses.”

In her recollections, Edna smiled when she talked about downtown Pawhuska and how it was bustling with activity and thriving businesses. She is delighted that her beloved hometown is on the rebound.

For relaxation, Edna loved to fish in ponds all over Osage County. Reluctantly, she had to give up her fishing expeditions four years ago at 96 but continues her love of the great outdoors. An avid reader, Edna enjoys novels by her favorite authors, Louis L’Amour and John Joseph Matthews. When asked if she had any words of wisdom to share with JC readers, with a twinkle in her eye, Edna said, “Hang on!”