Edward “Ed” Elwood Case sat beside his wife, Dottie Miller, in front of Hessel Church in rural Sebastopol on March 20, surrounded by over a dozen relatives who traveled across the country to celebrate his 100th birthday with a car parade.
It was a bigger celebration than he got to have in 2020, he said, when the pandemic first began. “I’ve got a whole bunch of decades I’ve really enjoyed,” he said, although his favorite age was being nine years old, when he came into his Christian faith. “And my longevity of life I owe to the lord and his grace, his love, his compassion,” Case said.
Friends from Hessel Church looped around the parking lot to hand cards and balloons through car windows, sometimes waving tiny American flags, and the Gold Ridge Fire Protection District rolled through in a truck and engine.
In the early 1940s, Case and his first wife were missionaries in Mexico, “and I got a call from Uncle Sam — ‘Get back here,’” he said, to eventually be stationed at the island of Tinian during World War II. Case returned to life as a missionary and a ventriloquist after the war in Cuba and Mexico, he said.
Life has stayed eventful long into his decades. After both lost their first spouses, Case reconnected with Miller in their 80s as long-lost high school sweethearts engaged once before, to the surprise of Miller’s adult children.
They married soon after and celebrate monthly anniversaries, Miller’s granddaughter Anna Ross, who traveled in from Kentucky, said.
“I thought maybe there’s a chance we could get back together. So, I had a phone call and I asked her, I said, ‘Dottie, do you think we could take off where we left off 66 years ago?’ She said, ‘I think we could.’ And we did,” Case said. “And we’re happy as a lark.”
“They are. They laugh too much, it’s ridiculous,” Ross said.