Widow of WWI soldier in Columbus shares memories of husband

COLUMBUS, Ind. - It's been seven years since the last living U.S. World War I veteran passed away. He was 110-years-old. However, there is a widow of a World War I soldier who is still thriving in Columbus.

Edna Basham is 102-years-old. She turns 103 in February. She has 16 great-great-grandkids. Everyday life has really changed for her over the last century.

"We had the rations you know. We were only allowed one pair of shoes a year. Of course, you had to save them for the winter months you know," she said.

Her family is grateful she's still here to share her stories. Edna's great-granddaughter, grandson, and 82-year-old daughter stood in her room at a nursing home in Columbus on Wednesday. Four generations of a family remembered a person who is no longer with them.

"We were married in 1958 in Jeffersonville, Indiana," said Edna.

Edna's second husband, Paul, was a soldier in Panama during World War I. He was known as a champion in checkers. His grandson, William McNulty, remembered hearing from family that Paul beat the champion of Panama in checkers.

Edna and Paul met in the 1950's and they married the next year. They spent 20 years together before Paul passed away at 83-years-old. She still receives benefits for his service. Their first date was a drive-in movie theater.

Pieces of history like his discharge papers and a letter from President Jimmy Carter are precious to his family. It is a dive into a past not many who lived it are around to tell any more.

"Looking backwards at the time, you don’t realize it and completely appreciate it as you're growing up," said McNulty.

Edna's daughter, Ada McNulty, gets to hear stories all the time from her mom because she shares a room with her at a nursing home in Columbus.

"He was always kind and generous and fun. Always had something to talk about, tell tales," said Ada.

The 100th anniversary of the end of World War I is this November.

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