Eleanor Blume, 99, cruised downtown Genesee Saturday morning, bundled up in the back of a GMC Sierra truck with her son and daughter.
Blume and 100-year-olds Doris Odenborg and Kathryn Springer served as grand marshals for the 59th annual Genesee Community Day celebration.
Blume was the only one of the three who participated in the parade. The others could not attend because of health reasons.
“What’d they do?” Blume told the Daily News after the parade. “Find the oldest person they could?”
All three women are former longtime Genesee residents. Tim Sperber, Genesee High School head football coach, served as the emcee of Community Day and stopped the parade to honor the three grand marshals. He read a short biography for each.
Blume, who will turn 100 on New Year’s Eve, was born in Troy. After two teaching jobs — one between Potlatch and Garfield and the other in Plummer, she moved to Genesee where she taught elementary school students.
She married in 1942 and raised her four children and helped her husband on the farm. Blume received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Idaho in 1959 and returned to teaching in Genesee that year until she retired in 1981. She then moved to Lewiston, where she still resides.
Kurt Blume, one of Eleanor’s sons, told the Daily News Friday his mother is a hard worker. He said when she put her mind to something, she made sure she accomplished it.
Although Odenborg could not attend Saturday , her family walked in the parade in her honor.
Odenborg grew up on the Camas Prairie and then left for nursing school in Lewiston.
She met her husband in Genesee where the two made their home, raising six boys on their small farm on Old Highway 95.
Odenborg was actively involved in Genesee Valley Lutheran Church during her 50 years as a resident. She now lives in Pullman, has 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
“Doris credits her longevity to clean living and not sweating the small stuff,” Sperber read.
Steve Odenborg, one of Doris’ sons and the Genesee mayor, said residents often ask him how his mother is doing. He said she doesn’t know many of those who ask very well but they remember her.
“She’s just one of those ladies that everybody kind of got to know her and appreciated her ... she’s just an amazing lady,” Steve Odenborg said.
Springer, who also lives in Pullman, was born at her family farm three miles south of Genesee.
She graduated from Genesee High School as valedictorian and attended business school in Spokane. She then worked as the bookkeeper for a car dealership in Moscow before marrying in 1940.
When her husband returned from World War II, they spent a short time in Orofino before returning to Genesee.
They owned and operated Springer Insurance for more than 50 years. Springer also served as treasurer at Genesee Community Church for 50 years.
She was an accomplished pianist and used her talents to provide music for the worship services.
Springer has two children, four grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to email@example.com.