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Published: 1/26/2014 - Updated: 2 months ago

105-year-old credits chocolate for her longevity

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Granddaughter Laura Robinson, second from left, and her children, Ian Robinson, 8, Alaina Robinson, 12,  and Colin Robinson, 14, help Edna Sandys blow out a single candle on her birthday cake during her 105th birthday party at the Elizabeth Scott Community in Maumee. Granddaughter Laura Robinson, second from left, and her children, Ian Robinson, 8, Alaina Robinson, 12, and Colin Robinson, 14, help Edna Sandys blow out a single candle on her birthday cake during her 105th birthday party at the Elizabeth Scott Community in Maumee.
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At 105, Edna Sandys still has pretty good lung power.

She stood up and blew out the one candle that decorated her birthday cake Saturday at the Elizabeth Scott Community assisted living and nursing home in Springfield Township.

“A lot of wonderful things have happened,” Mrs. Sandys said before admitting she was a little vague about her history, which goes back to when Theodore Roosevelt was President.

“It’s hazy,” she said. “I feel great.”

Wearing a blue sweater and slacks and with her hair nicely coiffed, Mrs. Sandys was the center of attention at the birthday party staged by the Scott staff and by her family in the assisted-living dining room. Disc jockey/​singer Mitch Kahl provided entertainment.

Great-grandson Ian Robinson, a second grader at St. Joan of Arc school, presented a stack of birthday cards from his classmates and teacher.

“God has blessed you with a long and healthy life,” said the card signed by teacher Cindy Wray.

Mrs. Sandys confirmed what she told the nursing home staff, that eating chocolate and drinking hot chocolate helped her live a long time.

“That had a lot to do with it,” she said.

Born in Tennessee, the then-Edna McLerran came to Toledo when her father got a job here. She met her future husband, Richard Sandys, in Toledo, but then returned to the family farm in Tennessee. Mr. Sandys followed her and they married in Nashville in 1930, according to her son, David Sandys.

Richard Sandys worked from 1926 until 1968 for the New York Central Railroad, and retired from its merger successor, Penn Central, in 1974. He walked from the couple’s South Toledo homes — first on Broadway, then South Avenue — to the railroad’s Toledo station, where his jobs included being the night stationmaster at what is now Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza.

Mr. Sandys died in 1981, and Mrs. Sandys stayed in their house in the 500 block of South until she was forced to give up her entirely independent life a few years ago.

Granddaughter Laura Robinson and grandson Tim Sandys said spending the night at Grandma’s house was always a favorite event. Tim said they got to drink pop and eat Charles Chips and honey-buttered toast for breakfast.

“We got to spend the night and have fun, play in the backyard, play games,” Mrs. Robinson said. “She had a big buckeye tree in the backyard. We used to come home with bags of buckeyes. Gram always had hot dogs, too.”

Son Tom Sandys and his wife, Kathleen, said Mrs. Sandys has just enjoyed good health.

“She’s always been healthy. She’s never been a sickly person,” Mrs. Sandys said. Tom Sandys predicted his mother would live another five years.

“I said, ‘How old are you, Mom?’She said, ‘I don’t know, 105 or 110,’ ” Mr. Sandys said. He said his mother never smoked or drank and was never overweight. She didn’t bother with exercise, but was active and traveled a lot.

Edna Sandys lost a sister to the flu as a little girl, and a brother in World War II. She still has two sisters in their 90s living in Tennessee.

Her philosophy in life has been to “keep going on as you do regardless of life’s circumstances,” she said.

Mrs. Sandys has lived in the Elizabeth Scott Community, 2720 Albon Rd., since June, 2012.

“Edna just may be the oldest living resident in the Toledo area,” said Matt Bucher, director of marketing for Elizabeth Scott. “We have certainly enjoyed having her as one of our residents, and we hope she stays with us many more years.”

Former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and current Mayor D. Michael Collins were at Mrs. Sandys’ 100th birthday party at her previous residence, Lakewood Apartments.

Though she was primarily a homemaker, she worked a number of jobs, including at Page Dairy, Sears and Roebuck, Bell Telephone, and the Lion Store. During World War II, she worked at a factory that manufactured cable used by Navy submarines.

Mrs. Sandys has three living children: Dolores Davey of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Thomas Sandys of Maumee, and David Sandys of Toledo. Another son, Richard, died. She has 10 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.



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