PIQUA — A local resident is celebrating her 103rd birthday on Friday and recalls pleasant memories in the surrounding countryside on her family’s farm land, over 150 acres of which she still owns today.
“I was born in Darke County,” Louise Cromes of Piqua said.
Cromes, born and raised on a farm, spent time living between Greenville and Gettysburg before studying at Covington schools and later Piqua Central High School.
Louise was one of 10 children growing up, and her sister Deloras Covault of Fletcher, who is 97 years old, checks up on her a couple times each day, calling in the morning and the evening to see how she is doing.
Louise’s granddaughter Toni Oswalt said that their family was very grateful for Covault and that, without Covault, her grandmother may not be as well off.
Louise (Walker) Cromes married Martin Cromes in 1933, and they were married approximately 65 years before he passed away. Martin also lived to be 100 years old.
“My grandfather was her school bus driver,” Oswalt said. “It was love at first sight.”
Louise and Martin had six children together, one of whom, Benny, passed away last year. Their other children include Paul, the oldest, along with Marion, Delbert, Wanda, and Dannie. They also had 22 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren, and 20 great-great-grandchildren.
Louise joked that she didn’t have time to spoil all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In addition to her sister, Louise has a wide family of support to help her keep going. She currently lives with her son, Delbert Cromes, and her granddaughter, Oswalt, who both help care for Cromes. Louise’s sister-in-law Terri also stops by and helps.
Oswalt said that it is wonderful and that she is thrilled that her grandmother has lived for over 100 years. “I moved home so I could be with her,” Oswalt said.
Delbert added that it’s wonderful having his mother reach this milestone. “We enjoy having her here,” he said.
The home they currently live in has also been in the family for multiple generations. “My grandfather’s parents owned this house,” Oswalt said.
Louise and Martin lived there briefly before moving over into the Shawnee neighborhood and later to a farm off Statler Road.
“I spent my honeymoon here,” Louise said of the family home in which she currently resides.
Martin, a lifelong farmer, would walk up to his parents’ home and help on his parents farm, Oswalt said. He then operated other family farmland off of Statler Road and Cromes Drive, which was named after their family.
“Before the interstate was there, that was their land,” Oswalt said.
The Cromes family built the pond in that area, which Oswalt refers to as her grandfather’s pond, and they lived off of a farm on the 900 block of West Statler Road. Delbert still mows the farm land that they do not currently rent out to other farmers, which totals over 150 acres.
“They had a dairy farm,” Oswalt said. Delbert added that they used to raise all kinds of farm animals and made their own sausage.
Louise said that their family and friends would always gather around Halloween for hay rides. Delbert and Oswalt also added that they went on family camping and fishing trips on that farm land as well as held family reunions there.
“We were all raised down there,” Oswalt said.
In addition to helping run a large family farm and raise a family, Louise taught 4-H for 30 years, and her specialty was teaching sewing. Louise also churned butter at a booth at the Heritage Festival for 32 years. She was member of the Ohio Farm Bureau for 75 years and sat on their council for eight years.
Louise was also active in her church, formerly a branch of Evangelical United Brethren Church before it merged with the United Methodist Church. She was a Sunday School teacher for over 20 years.
Louise also actively participated in local community groups, including the Homemakers Club and the Sheepskin Community Club, for 75 years.
Louise said they did things for the school, in addition to completing other community projects like holding a canning class.
When asked what helped her reach this milestone of 103 years of age, Louise said, “Work.”
Louise worked hard to get to 103 years, and Oswalt added that farm life and eating natural food grown and raised on their farm helped keep her healthy and live long.
In addition to thanking Deloras Covault, they also thanked numerous family members and friends for visiting and helping Louise, including Sandy, Karen, Mary, Jeanine, Jamie, and others.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org