Celebrating a Century of Living
By Nicole Burnett
During the coal strike of 1919, Ross and Annie Alexander welcomed their youngest of three children to the world on December 6. Velma Iris was born on her family farm in the outskirts of Caldwell County. Iris celebrated her 100th birthday at Golden Age Home Assisted Living where she has been an active resident for the past 2 and ½ years.
Iris married Preston Leon Riddle at the age of 26. They were married for 64 years and 4 months. Leon and Iris have two daughters, Beverly Henson and Pam Patterson, who both reside in Austin. Iris is proud to have five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Iris and Leon Riddle were well known citizens and business owners of Lockhart. They owned both a children’s shop and a dress shop on the Lockhart square as well as two laundromats and a drive-in grocery store. Even though Iris didn’t finish high school, she did the bookkeeping for all these businesses. Iris and Leon travelled in a motor home to each of the lower 48 states and all but 2 of the provinces of Canada. They also visited Alaska and Hawaii to complete their tour of all 50 states.
Iris’ welcoming personality, readily available smile and bigger-than-life laughter has helped her make friends easily wherever life and travels took her. Iris is still an active member of the Lockhart Church of Christ and the Daughters of the Nile. With the help of many friends, Iris attends church services and card games at the Church of Christ weekly. Iris is the life of the party at most of the events at the Golden Age Home rarely missing an activity that is going on.
Iris has experienced Prohibition, the Great Depression, WWII, the Dust Bowl, the First Man in Space, the Civil Rights Movement, Y2K and 9/11. She has seen many inventions and advancements in technology including the Invention of the computer, cell phones and Wi-Fi just to name a few.
Iris proudly renewed her voter’s registration on her birthday because when she was born women didn’t even have the right to vote so she wants to continue to exercise the right she now has. When asked what advise she would give others, she stated “Be kind at all times.” If you have the privilege of spending a few minutes with Iris, you will quickly see that this is a motto she truly lives by.