By Colleen Flaherty
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - It was hard to get a moment alone Sunday with birthday girl Edna Teinert, who hardly looked the 100 years old she was turning.
Dozens upon dozens of friends and family members kept arriving at the party at Copperas Cove's Stoney Brook Assisted Living Facility and Memory Care Center, where she will soon move.
With her full head of white hair coiffed and a corsage affixed to her black lace top, Teinert sat in the center's living room, receiving each of the many guests who lined up to congratulate her on a century well-lived.
She graciously accepted gifts, cards, flowers, and even a serenade by her son, cowboy and barbecue cookbook author Cliff Teinert.
"It's overwhelming that that many people would care," she said. "The good lord has blessed me."
There have been trying times - assuming the role of mother to five younger siblings at the age of 13 after her mother died; being left with four small children while her husband went off to fight in World War II; his untimely death due to illness after his return; and the death of an adult child.
But there have also been great joys: the births of 10 grandchildren and meeting three step-grandchildren and, later, the births of 12 great-grand-children and four great-great-grandchildren.
She developed a life-long bond with her husband's sister, 105-year-old Erna Mathias, who also attended the party Sunday.
"She was married to my youngest brother," Mathias said.
Kempner resident Cindi Patton, 65, has known both women for many years. Teinert is chic and articulate, she said.
"She has a sense of style. I always said that when I grew up, I'd like to be the lady she is."
Teinert, who attends Trinity Lutheran Church in Copperas Cove, attributed her resilience and longevity to her faith.
"To me, it's faith in God and a direction you know you want to go in your life from the lord Jesus," she said, "because we can only rely on him to give us direction."
But her brother, Eldor Mickan, 93, of Kingsland, jokingly attributed their respective ages to "good blue jeans."
Teinert also has a good heart, he said.
"I guess she inherited from her mother a characteristic in good measure, and that's kindness," he said. "She's bore some very heavy crosses, and I never heard her complain about it."
Born in Southeast Texas, Teinert moved to Copperas Cove as a child. She left the area after getting married, but moved back in 1961 after the death of her husband.
Described by many party guests as independent, Teinert never remarried but worked at the USO and in Lutheran services for many years upon her return.
She is a gifted quilter and seamstress, by all accounts, and even made her granddaughter's wedding dress.
"She's the ideal grandmother," that granddaughter, Elizabeth Steele, 53, of Springfield, Mo., said Sunday. "I'm very blessed to have such a sweet and loving grandmother."
But she's not just sweet, Teinert's great-granddaughter, Isabelle Grace Hebert, 9, of London, said.
"Most people tell me she's sharp."
And she's getting sharper, said her daughter, Barbara Studtmann, 79, of Owasso, Okla., who, with other family members, had been planning Teinert's 100th birthday party since her last big bash on her 90th birthday.
"It has been fun to just see her grow," she said. "You'd expect that she'd be declining in life, but she has blossomed over the last 10 years."
Contact Colleen Flaherty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7559.
Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.