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Pioneer Memoirs

Interview with Miss Edna Richey, March 1979, as printed in the LeMars Daily Sentinel

Edna Richey Recalls When First LeMars Car Arrived By railroad

Edna Richey has a lot of memories stored up. She turned 95 Saturday (March 24) and spoke with the Daily Sentinel about some of her memories.

Edna was born in LeMars in 1884.  Her father was a well-known doctor, Milton W. Richey, who had arrived in LeMars in 1877.  Among other things Dr. Richey is remembered as the first person in LeMars (and the Sioux City area) to own a car.

The car was a Winton and Edna remembers well the day she and her father went to the railway station to pick it up. That was 1900 or 1901.

“The first car had a top you could take up and down and looked like a buggy.  It had high wheels and hard rubber tires.  It even had a whipsocket,” she laughed.

Asked if the vehicle drew stress from persons on the street, Edna replied, “I’m sure it did.”

Edna said her father owned many cars during his lifetime.  Among them, a 1906 Pope-Toledo which is now in an auto museum in Sarasota, Fla.

In 1900, Edna’s father built a spacious home at 401 Central Ave., SW.  It is now the Luedtke funeral home.  “It had lots of doodads and fussy-type things on it,” she said.  “But later there was a fire, and it’s really changed a lot since then.”

Miss Richey’s profession was teaching. After teaching several years in LeMars and Washington (state), Miss Richey moved in 1902 to Hawaii where she taught US history. Miss Richey clearly recalled the natural beauty of Hawaii.  “It was really quite lovely then. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as now.”

In 1936, Miss Richey built a home in Hawaii and lived there until the attack on Pearl Harbor.  “The war helped me make a decision to come to the United States,” she said.

One summer, Edna took candy making lessons from a leading manufacturer in Boston. Her relatives for many years enjoyed chocolates and other candies she prepared.  Miss Richey has lived at Plymouth Manor for about a year, so she doesn’t make candy anymore.  But she still enjoys one of her favorite pastimes—playing bridge.

Edna has long been known in LeMars as a bridge player to be reckoned with.  She still attends the LeMars Country Club each week during the summer for a few bridge games and also plays at Plymouth Manor.

Edna remains the oldest member of the Presbyterian United Church of Christ.  She never let her church membership lapse—even during her 25 years in Hawaii.

Edna has traveled  throughout the United States and has made trips to New Zealand, Australia and Europe. 

Despite living in picturesque Hawaii and traveling to various places around the world, Miss Richey is content in LeMars.  “I like it here,” she said, smiling. “I’ve always liked LeMars.”   By Dave Morris, LeMars Daily Sentinel writer, March 1979

This photo was taken at the time of her birthday, March 24, 1979. The picture has yellowed on the page of my Grandmother's scrapbook. Hopefully it will be enjoyed by those who have read her memories above.

Veva Edna Richey
b. 24 Mar 1884
d. 24 Oct 1980 **OBITUARY link**

[Transcriber note:  Miss Richey was a delightful lady with a beautiful, captivating smile. She and my Grandmother were very close friends.  At one point, my Grandma and Miss Richey had apartments on the same floor of the Carolina Terrace in LeMars, Iowa. I got to know Miss Richey during my visits with my Grandmother. I always admired Miss Richey; she was a very elegant lady, who carried herself very well despite a foot injury she had in an automobile accident in LeMars in the early 1950’s.  And she was an excellent story teller….always enjoyed listening to her tell of her life adventures.  
Linda Ziemann, Granddaughter to Mrs. E. Ferne Jones—good friend of Edna Richey.]



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