Charlie Lewis celebrates with a mention on 'Today Show' this week

<I>The Eagle/Angel Carpenter</I><BR>Charlie Lewis' 101st birthday will be noted on the "Today Show" this Thursday, July 23.

JOHN DAY - Charlie Lewis says he's taking a ride "down 101" - as in Highway 101, and his 101st birthday on July 26.

To celebrate the milestone, his friend Martha (Boyer) Saunders of Redmond, a former Grant County resident, submitted his information to be highlighted on NBC's "Today Show" in Willard Scott's birthday segment.

She was "tickled" to hear that Lewis, who lives on his own, drives to grocery shop and does his own cooking and laundry, is set to be featured on the show this week on Thursday, July 23 sometime between the hours of 8 and 10 a.m.

"I was a little hard to convince," Lewis said - he doesn't care for the limelight - but, "You don't reach this age very often," he added.

Saunders was glad he agreed.

She remembers that, 50 years ago, Lewis was instrumental in promoting her for the Pendleton Round Up court. He was the John Day Chamber of Commerce president around that time.

"He went to businesses in John Day, and they wrote letters on my behalf," she said.

That year, 1959, she was chosen as a court princess, and the following year she wTV's Willard Scott adds JD man, 101, to his birthday listas Round Up rodeo queen.

Lewis said he and his late wife Cecille were good friends with Saunders' parents, the late Don and Estella Boyer of John Day. Estella was the Grant County superintendent of schools for 25 years.

Saunders has accepted an invitation to make an appearance at this year's Grant County Fair and Rodeo - which is having its 100-year anniversary. She was fair queen in 1956.

While they are in town for the fair her husband Ted Saunders will attend his 50th Grant Union High School reunion, and they plan a visit with their friend Charlie.

Martha had a few comments and memories to share about the special couple she remembers.

"He and Cecille contributed to the community so much," she said.

"They owned a floral shop. Cecille played (piano) for dances and made floats for the Grant County Fair. The mannequins inĀ­ the Grant County Museum were made by her."

Charlie is "a friend to everyone - never knowing a stranger and never having an enemy. He's always so happy and jolly and makes everyone feel good," she said.

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