Sharing a 100th birthday
Roberta Daniels was born Sept. 14, 1913, the same year Molalla became a city.
Saturday, Aug. 24, Roberta Daniels was honored as one of the old timers at Molallas Centennial Birthday Party.
Although she had not yet arrived when Molalla became a city, she will be celebrating her 100th year next month. She was born at home on the family farm to Albert and Nellie (Yoder) Eyman on Sept. 14, 1913, the eldest of four children, the descendant of Swiss Farmers and Amish Mennonites. Robertas extended family of the Eymans and Yoders who settled in the area in the late 1800s, provided a wonderful place to be raised. Many Sundays, the living room of her grandparents, Fred and Rosetta Eyman, would be filled with relatives, who were accomplished musicians, and the children would be admonished to sit quietly and listen to an instrumental and vocal concert.
Roberta attended the one room Rural Dell School for eight grades and went on to Molalla High School, graduating in 1931. She is the oldest living alumna of the school. After a fifth year at Molalla working in the office and taking more classes, she went to Oregon City to business school.
She began her career as a secretary for the Extension Service in the new Post Office Building next to the paper mill. Except for when her children were young, Roberta spent all her working career with that organization, retiring from the Warner-Milne site in 1978.
In August 1937, Roberta married her high school sweetheart, Donald (Jiggs) Daniels, from Mulino, at her parents home. It was harvest season, and her father had to stop work to come in for the small wedding. She remembers that after a honeymoon at the beach, they went to Portland and stood on Powell Blvd. watching FDRs motorcade on its way back to the train station after dedicating Bonneville Dam and Timberline Lodge.
The couple bought a small farm across the road from her parents in 1940, and began building a home. Soon after, Joel was born followed by Barbara, twins Thomas and Terrance, and then more twins, Richard and James. They all went to Rural Dell and graduated from Molalla High School. She has six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, two of whom will be enrolled as fourth generation Molalla High students this coming year.
Roberta and Donald were very active in their community, both served on the Rural Dell School Board and joined the I.O.O.F. and Rebekah lodges and the Grange in Molalla.
Roberta is the oldest member of Smyrna United Church of Christ founded in part by her great-grandfather Jonathan Yoder and uncles near Yoder. She continues to be active in Womens Fellowship and The Stitch Club at the church. She is keenly interested and involved in the new kitchen project at the church.
Roberta loves to travel and has been to Europe, Japan and South America. A highlight was a trip to South Africa in 1999. Donald was a pilot and they were members of the Oregon Pilots Association at Mulino and the Flying Farmers. They flew as far as Alaska and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Times might have been simpler in the early days, but Roberta is not one to sit around dwelling in the past. She remains actively interested in current events, politics and technology. After recently purchasing a handheld computer so that she could continue to read a magazine that discontinued print editions, she discovered that she could read books on it, too. Her radio and television are mostly tuned to public broadcasting. She only gave up driving two years ago when her license expired. She knows she could still do it, but her family is happy to give her rides.
Longevity is no stranger to Robertas family. She has two sisters, Lucia Schuebel, 98 and Anna Lou Case, 95. Their mother lived to age 104. Her only brother, Steven Eyman, died a few years ago.
The Daniels family will host a birthday celebration at Smyrna United Church of Christ, 31119 S. Hwy. 170, Canby, on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 2-5. Everyone is welcome. After 100 years, she said she doesnt need any gifts, other than good wishes.