Wayne Wolfe turned 100 with a bit of “another day at the office” approach.
How did he live to be 100?
“I just did,” Wolfe said during an interview in his tidy home between Lostine and Wallowa. “I’ve always been a pretty healthy guy. I’ve had a few broken bones, but those don’t kill you.”
He was born Aug. 27, 1918, and grew up a ranch kid. His two years of military service, including a stint in North Carolina in the U.S. Army Air Corp, is the only time he’s spent significant time away from Wallowa County.
He returned, got married, worked on the railroad and eventually rented a ranch from Bud Lewis.
He and Edna June Audet were married in December 1946. They had two sons, Gordon and David. Gordon and his wife Becky live across the road.
“My dad was a good teacher,” Wolfe recalls. “Of course, everything was done with horses in those days so you couldn’t farm a lot of acres.”
He was active in helping with irrigation until age 94.
“I couldn’t get over the fences anymore,”he said.
Woodrow Wilson was President when Wolfe was born. He continues to follow national politics today.
His favorite president? Harry Truman.
“He was a Republican and didn’t even know it,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe had been a Democrat until the Johnson administration. The Vietnam War changed his allegiance. “Johnson and (U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert) McNamara sent all those boys to die in that war, and it was all for nothing,” Wolfe said.
He was also a fan of John F. Kennedy.
Ranchers are keen observers of weather. He’s seen a lot of it come and go.
Wolfe guesses the last two years have probably been the most unusual weatherwise in Wallowa County that he remembers.
Wolfe has been battling vertigo the past couple weeks, which has kept him mostly homebound.
“These days, I’m better at falling over than I am at standing standing up,” he quipped. He hopes to improve enough to putter around outside and continue driving his pickup around the ranch property.
Friends, families and well-wishers gathered Sunday at Wallowa Senior Center for a birthday celebration.