Wednesday, December 16, 2015

TOP STORY >> Edna Lukas 100 years young

Leader staff writer

Jacksonville resident Edna Lukas turned 100 years old on Sunday.

She celebrated the milestone with family and friends during a surprise birthday party Saturday at her home at Woodland Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

Lukas was born on Dec. 13, 1915, in Little Rock. She graduated from Ole Main High School in North Little Rock in 1933.

Her father was a cabinetmaker, and her mother was a housewife and did some sewing. She had an older brother and two younger sisters. All have passed away.

She enjoyed singing in a trio with her sisters.

Lukas met her husband, Frank, when he was living across the street from her family. He sent her money to come to California in 1942 to get married while he was in the Army and stationed there.

They were both 27 when they married in Venice, Calif.

Edna then worked in Riverside, Calif., as a telephone switchboard operator. She recalled her time in River-side.

“I remember living out West. There was an earthquake, and the girl working next to me at the telephone company fainted and had to be taken out,” Lukas said.

She worked for the telephone company until Frank was sent to Europe in 1943 during the Second World War.

Edna was pregnant then with their only child, Ron. Frank did not see his son until he came back from Europe in 1946, when the boy was 16 months old.

Edna became a homemaker. Frank was a supervisor for Wonder Bread factories.

When Frank received a promotion he was transferred to a different plant. They moved around, living in Denver, Chicago, St. Louis and Waterloo, Iowa.

Frank and Edna were living near St. Louis when Frank retired. They moved to Jacksonville in 1980 to be near their only son’s family.

The two were married 42 years until Frank’s death in 1984.

Edna Lukas loved to cook the fresh vegetables her husband grew in their garden.

Their son became a pharmacist. Ron owned Chambers Drug Store on West Main Street in Jacksonville for 39 years until selling it in 2014. Frank Lukas delivered medications to customers.

Ron was also in the Army for three years, from 1967 to 1970. He and his wife, Retha, moved to North Little Rock in 1970. Ron went to pharmacy school at UAMS and his wife enrolled in the Baptist Health nursing program. Both were in Little Rock.

After Ron graduated from pharmacy school in 1975, he went to work at Chambers Drug Store on West Main Street in Jacksonville. Ron’s family moved to Jacksonville in 1976, and he bought into the store that year.

Edna Lukas also has two grandsons and eight great-grandchildren.

Of the 100-year-old, Ron Lukas said, “My mom has influenced my life by providing an example in her faithful Christian walk. People think of her as a gracious woman, an excellent cook and someone who seldom had a word critical of others.”

Ron and his wife have been married for 47 years.

Their son, Aaron, is a Foreign Service officer for the State Department and is stationed in Berlin. He has three girls and two boys.

Ron Lukas’ younger son, David, is a financial adviser with his own company in Maumelle. He has two boys and a girl.

Edna moved into Woodland Hills last year.

She likes to have her hair done and wear red lipstick. The mother and grandmother also said the secret to her longevity is eating a lot.