SIDNEY – A 101-year-old man, a 96-year-old woman and a couple who has been married for 68 years were recognized during Tuesday’s Senior Citizens Day at the Shelby County Fair.
Norris Cromes, a 101-year-old Sidney man, was recognized as the oldest gentleman at the 2021 Shelby County Fair. He was born Jan. 19, 1920, in downtown Sidney, 10 years before the Wilson Health hospital was founded.
Cromes previously had been honored as the oldest gentleman at the 2017 Shelby County Fair and returned this year for the first time in four years.
The lifelong Sidney resident has had an active life, from his high school days of playing football, basketball and tennis to the present day. He still goes out two or three times a week for dinners and other events.
In his younger days, Cromes played in a national doubles tennis tournament in Philadelphia, served in World War II and helped run his family business, which is now known as Cromes-Edwards Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.
Marian Price, who was born on Nov. 16, 1924, was recognized as the most mature lady of the 2021 Shelby County Fair. She was surprised by the award, expecting there would be a 98- or 99-year-old woman in the crowd.
Price, who now lives in Sidney, grew up on a farm between McCartyville and Kettlersville. She’s generally visited the Shelby County Fair each year throughout her life.
John and Edna Mae Laws, who have been married for 68 years, were recognized as the longest married couple at the Fair.
The couple met in high school and started dating shortly thereafter. John Laws served in the Navy for four years during the Korean War, beginning in 1951.
He was able to get leave in 1953 and returned home to marry his high school sweetheart on the afternoon of May 3, 1953, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sidney.
“We’ve had 68 wonderful years, wonderful years,” John Laws said. “I’m grateful.”
The Sidney couple has two sons and two grandchildren, whom they’re especially proud of. Their granddaughter, Payton Laws, just received her certification in pediatric dentistry while their grandson, McKeon Laws, recently graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in biomedical engineering and received a full-ride scholarship to continue his education at West Virginia University.
John Laws, who was on the stage as a member of the Senior Center Singers, said one phrase has helped keep their marriage strong for the past 68 years.
“Let me tell you, there’s two words us guys never forget: Yes, dear,’” John Laws said, drawing a laugh from the hundreds of people in attendance.
Also honored on Tuesday was Kathy Bray, who was named the 2021 outstanding senior citizen for Shelby County by the Shelby County Coalition on Aging. The award usually is celebrated at the Senior Center, but the celebration was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bray volunteers at the Senior Center and leads several exercise classes such as Move n Groove, chair exercise and chair yoga. She participates in line dancing, shuffleboard and pickleball and has been credited for increasing attendance in Senior Center activities through her encouragement of other area residents.
Bray also is the chairperson for the meal provided at the Senior Citizens Day at the Shelby County Fair. As chairperson, she organizes a group of volunteers to assemble 500 lunches each year.
Attendees at the Senior Citizens Day received a lunch and had an opportunity to win door prizes from local businesses.
The Senior Center Singers also performed for approximately 30 minutes with a set that featured numerous songs originally performed by the Beach Boys along with other classics.
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