A Special Birthday
It is truly extraordinary to have the privilege of living for 95 years, especially when one is fortunate enough to spend the entirety of their life in a place as special as Edna.
Altha “Pinky” Milby, a woman who recently turned 95, was born and raised in the small town of Edna. She has seen the town transform over the years, witnessing the old home where she was born being replaced by the First Baptist Church. Pinky cherished her memories of growing up in Edna and held onto the values and experiences that shaped her life.
Born on June 17, 1928, in the comfort of her childhood home, Pinky was the next to the youngest of six siblings. Growing up, she delighted in playing with her brothers, sisters, and neighborhood friends. She fondly remembered assisting her father in fixing their trusty Model T.
Just a short distance from her current residence, Pinky learned to swim in the Lavaca River as a child.
Pinky’s nickname, “Pinky,” originated during her sixth-grade year. A heated altercation broke out between her sister and another girl, who dismissively told Pinky to stay out of the fight. From that day forward, the nickname stuck.
After attending Live Oak School, a one-room schoolhouse nestled between El Toro and Vanderbilt, Pinky continued her education in Edna. However, she decided to leave school and enter the workforce.
Out of all her jobs, waitressing at the Edna Cafe on Highway 59 and Frank White became her favorite. She relished the opportunity to meet countless kind-hearted people, and her warm and friendly demeanor made her beloved by many.
Among Pinky’s cherished relationships were those with James Newton Wade and his wife Leah. The couple treated her like a daughter, and when their son “JN” returned from the military, they played matchmakers and brought Pinky and JN together.
In 1946, Pinky and JN exchanged vows and embarked on a loving journey that spanned 28 years until JN’s passing in 1974. JN established a prosperous construction business with offices in Edna and Port Lavaca. Pinky supported him in his endeavors, working as the pay-bill clerk in the company.
“It was really hard for me when he passed. When you lose a mate you’re just half of what you were. We did everything together. So I organized a singles group and we met here at my house and we played games and had dinner or went to a dinner show in Houston,” said Pinky.
Pinky’s devotion extended beyond her own family. She lovingly raised her son, Don, as well as her niece, whom she adored as her own daughter. Family is at the core of Pinky’s life, and her nurturing spirit has touched the lives of those closest to her.
At the age of 23, Pinky found solace and community within the First Baptist Church of Edna. Her faith was unwavering, and she formed lasting friendships within the congregation. Pinky enjoys hosting friends at her home, fostering an atmosphere of love and laughter.
Life had its share of surprises for Pinky. Mike Milby, a familiar face from her school days, returned to Edna after his wife’s passing. The years had changed them, and they barely recognized each other. However, their connection soon rekindled, and on May 5, 1995, Pinky and Mike exchanged vows. They shared a beautiful union for 19 years until Mike’s passing in 2014.
Pinky has seen many changes throughout her years in Edna. She’s witnessed the rise and fall of Walmart in Edna and the opening and closings of many local shops and restaurants. She admitted she wasn’t fond of Walmart because it was too much competition for the smaller shops but she often misses the convienence.
“I never really liked Walmart but I miss it. You know there’s not anywhere you can go buy needle and thread and when you get this age and you don’t want to go all the way to Victoria, you miss that,” Pinky said.
Throughout her life, Pinky has found strength and guidance in her relationship with God. She describes herself as faithfully devoted to her church and expresses gratitude for the dear friends she has made along the way. Pinky believes that God spoke to her in dreams and turns to Him for wisdom and direction.
“Now I have served on every committee that our church offers except baptism. I don’t know how I missed that. I taught Sunday school because my son was just so shy, he would follow the secretary around so I felt like I needed to teach his class,” Pinky said as she talked about some of her church experiences.
Pinky looked back on her mother and the many traits she inherited from her. She lived to be almost 101.
“Even after she had to go to the nursing home, because of dementia, she would be found pushing someone else around or going into the kitchen asking to be of help,” Pinky said. “I think I got some of that and more and more I can see I’m like my mom.”
As Altha “Pinky” Milby celebrated her 95th birthday, she reflected on a life well-lived. So far, her journey has been filled with cherished memories, loving relationships, and a steadfast faith.