Long time Hampshire hog breeder, Ruben Edwards, from Middletown, celebrated his 90th birthday at the Highway 54 Banquet Center on Nov. 10 with family, friends and swine breeders from 10 states attending.
A pork loin dinner was served and the day was spent visiting and relating stories about Ruben and his family.
Edwards, a graduate of Bowling Green High School, began raising Hampshire hogs under the supervision of Agriculture instructor, T.C. Wells, who was a long time mentor of Ruben.
Ruben still has many memories of those days which he continues to share with family and friends.
He served as Bowling Green FFA chapter president in 1946-47 and went on to be president of the State of Missouri FFA.
Ruben continued his education at the University of Missouri in Columbia where he was a member of the college livestock judging team and the college meat judging team.
It was at MU that he met his future wife, Irene John. They are the parents of five children: Pat (Russ) Hardesty, Linda (Gary) Young, John (Jane) Edwards, Teresa (Paul) Hill and Jim (Phyllis) Edwards. All the children played an important role on the farm during their growing up years.
Ruben was active showing pigs at major swine shows and was a well known livestock judge at local and national swine shows. He served on the Hampshire Swine Registry board of directors and served as President in 1968.
For many year, two production sales were held at the farm, selling breeding stock across the United States as well as Mexico and Japan.
Ruben’s wife, “Miss Irene”, as she was affectionately know, played an important role in all aspects of the farm. For many years, Ruben and “Miss Irene” hosted boys from various parts of the country who wanted to learn about Hampshire hogs. They lived with them and worked on the farm. Many of those young men went on to be Hampshire breeders or entered commercial hog production.
“Miss Irene” was an excellent homemaker and an awesome cook. Everyone who visited the farm felt fortunate to sit at her table. She passed away in 2013 and continues to be missed by all who knew her.
The family grain and livestock farm, known as Hamp-An Farms, is still in operation today. However, with the declining hog prices, the hogs are no longer a part of the farm. Ruben has devoted the last several years in building his Angus cattle herd. At his present age of 90, he still is out every day caring for his cows.
The positive attitude and encouragement of Ruben and “Miss Irene” continues to leave a mark on lives of those fortunate enough to know them.