At 100 years old, Annice Millard Rowe still likes to tell stories, but most of them are of the "old days." She related at her 100th birthday party at the Wallowa Valley Care Center July 27 that her husband, businessman Lawrence Rowe, oncepredicted that she would live to be 100 and would travel.
Though Annice has indeed reached the century mark, friend Clarice Southwick said that she didn't think she'd done much traveling beyond the borders of Wallowa County since her husband died in 1989. "She' graduated in 1921, and is the oldest oldest living alumni of Enterprise High School," said Southwick.
Though she has no immediate family, Annice Rowe was a lifelong friend of the late Reta Thornburgh, the mother of Southwick and Oneta Owens, with whom the two older women lived together with for a number of years. "My sister and I adopted her," said Southwick of their mother's good friend.
Annice Millard Rowe turned 100 years old on July 27, 2002, with friends and members of the Enterprise Baptist Church hosting a party at the Wallowa Valley Care Center where she is now living.
She was born July 27, 1902, to Kenneth and Bertha Homan Millard, weighing only two pounds at birth. Less than a year later her father, then working for the Wade family and living on Alder Slope, drowned in Wallowa Lake. The accident occurred on July 5, 1903, when the Millard family and others were at the lake on a picnic. Kenneth Millard, who couldn't swim, was in a boat that overturned.
His widow went to live with her mother, Mrs. Mark (Mary Jane) Homan on the Homan homestead on Alder Slope with her two small children, Orville and Annice.
Bertha Millard eventually went to work as the Enterprise librarian, a role she filled for almost 45 years. She was a devoted Bible student and for many years was also Sunday School teacher for the adult calss, attended by both Annice and Reta.
Annice's brother, Orville, grew up to become the first Josephine County Circuit Judge for Grants Pass, where he served for 18 years.
Annice began working for the Enterprise Post Office while she was as a senior in high school, and later became assistant postmaster. She finally retired in 1960 after 39 years, six months, working for the post office.
In the meantime after living with her mother for many years, she married Lawrence Rowe in 1945 after he returned from World War II as a four-year Navy veteran. He owned Rowe's Grocery Store on Main St. in Enterprise.
As a couple, the Rowes enjoyed such activities as riding with the Wallowa County Wranglers horse club and in later years traveling south in the winters, according to Southwick.
After her husband died, Annice lived by herself until 1993 when a doctor said she shouldn't live alone any more, and Oneta Owens invited her to live with her and Reta, who died in 1998.
A couple of years ago, Annice moved into the Wallowa Valley Care Center, where she still enjoys seeing friends, including "adopted" daughters Clarice and Oneta.
"She really liked that birthday cake," said Southwick of the 100th birday party for one of Wallowa County's oldest residents.