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Edith Silva reaches 90 through 'hard work'
When you turn 90 and lots of people turn out, that's a testament to a life well lived.

Edith Silva was surrounded by many relatives, friends and well-wishers as she celebrated her milestone Wednesday inside her double-wide trailer at Keyes' Patio Village Mobilehome Park.

Mrs. Silva had a chance to reflex on her life and her longevity.

"Just work hard," is her short answer to the age-old question of how one gets to be as old as she is. "I always wore a hat as I worked the fields along with my husband."

One of her most favorite times in life was working alongside her husband, the late Alfred J. Silva, when they owned and operated a small dairy at Pioneer and Redwood roads.

"My stepfather had a stroke," said her daughter, Walle Wallulis of Ceres. "They milked the cows, brought in hay. They did everything. She worked like a man. Probably that's why her heart is so strong today."

Mr. Silva died in 1979. She sold the dairy and moved into Ceres, living at Sixth and Lawrence from 1969 to 1980. She later moved to the mobilehome park between Ceres and Keyes.

When she wasn't working on the dairy she was working other places. She worked at California Vegetable Concentrate (now Krafts Foods) on Whitmore Avenue for a while and then for a laundry. But she was mostly a homemaker, raising four children and three guardian children, Darrell Gregory, Mary Finnegan and April Ball. She adopted a son in Jay Cubbage.

The Silvas were foster parents, taking in homeless children and loving them.

"They had children passing through the home all the time but these three she kept a boy and two sisters," said Wallulis. The three are

Mrs. Silva is the only surviving charter member of the Ceres Senior Citizens Club. Edith was the first Mrs. Senior Citizen in 1973. She has taken bus trips offered by the club for the past 14 years.

She has been a longtime member of the Ceres Christian Church and was baptized when the church was in the existing Masonic Lodge. She still attends services.

"We call her our saintly mother," said Wallulis. "She has taught us very well."

She enjoys a razor-sharp mind and insists on doing her own banking. She loves to read and watch baseball.

"She's got a great attitude," said Shirley Fox, a daughter who lives in Redding.

Mrs. Silva was born Nov. 7, 1917 in Laramie, Wyoming. For a time she lived in Grand Junction, Colo., with her grandfather. She moved to the Ceres area. Her first marriage to Jess Smith produced four children: Walle Wallulis, Henry Long, Shirley Fox and Linda Sanders. Today she has 16 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and 21 great-great-grandchildren.