ETCETERA - Ex-resident poised to enter second century of life

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Former Walla Walla resident Beth Yeend appears to have the keys to long life, according to son Bill Yeend.

"She will enter her second century of life on March 29," Bill said. During that first 100 years, Beth witnessed "the proliferation of cars, commercial air travel, the advent of nuclear war, man on the moon and watched communications evolve from pre-dial phones to twitter."

She can expound at length on any of those developments, given the opportunity, Bill said. "She will also tell you who will (or at least should) win on ‘American Idol' or ‘Dancing With the Stars.' She can tell you the life story of a leading rodeo cowboy. And she will have a favorite to root for in the Masters, the World Series and the Super Bowl. And she is always ready with advice for our political leaders."

Bill said a rather large luncheon/party for family and friends will be noon March 27 at Crystal Creek Caf in Bothell, Wash., and another gathering at 2 p.m. March 29 at Beth's retirement facility, GenCare in Lynnwood, Wash. Cards can be sent to Beth there at 6024 200th St. S.W., Lynnwood, 98036.

She and husband Lowell Yeend were married for 71 years, until his death in 2005. "She admits to a bit of luck in finding ‘just the right guy,'" Bill added. Lowell and Beth enjoyed dancing and socializing and never met a stranger. Lowell was an avid golfer and Beth was his biggest fan, Bill said.

The Yeends were active in various civic groups. Beth was a member of school PTAs, and P.E.O, and took classes and exhibited her watercolors at Carnegie Art Center.

Born March 29, 1910, in Edgar, Wis., she and her mother went for a visit in Hood River, Ore. Her father came out shortly thereafter, "and the family never endured another Wisconsin winter." After brief stays in Hood River and Pendleton, the family settled in Walla Walla in 1932.

Beth attended Sharpstein Elementary School, graduated in 1926 from Walla Walla High School and attended Whitman College.

She worked at Falkenberg's Jewelers, sold real estate in Spokane and become an accomplished watercolor artist. In addition to the love of family and friends, other keys to Beth's long life are "all things in moderation," a cocktail at 5 p.m., and an ice cream cone before bed.

Following her husband's death, she moved to Lynnwood, Wash., to be close to Bill and her daughter, Judy Sells. Another son, Steve, lives in Phoenix. She has seven grandchildren and lots of great-grandchildren.

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Friends and family will celebrate longtime Walla Wallan Solomon Frank's 90th birthday today from 2-4 p.m. at Wheatland Village.

Solomon was born March 8, 1920, in Walla Walla, to German immigrants from Kautz, Russia, John David and Elizabeth Frank Frank.

He has eight brothers and sisters: Freda Wilhem and Kaye Benzel live in Walla Walla, four brothers reside out of the area and two sisters are deceased.

He and Helen Schiffman wed on Memorial Day 1941. They had two children, Nancy Blize, who died in 1998, and Thomas Frank, who lives in Surprise, Ariz.

Sol served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in San Diego in 1946.

He owned and operated Melrose Market grocery store on the corner of Melrose and Division streets, from 1941-1972. The Franks lived to California for 15 years where he was in a business partnership with brother-in-law Dale Schiffman.

He and Helen returned to Walla Walla upon his retirement. Mrs. Frank died in 2002.

He is a member of College Place Presbyterian Church. He has six grandchildren and nine great-children.

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Evergreen Garden Club charter member Lu Stirn hosted fellow members for the club's 54th anniversary. The group was hatched from the YWCA-sponsored Newcomers Club in the early 1950s. Over the years they helped beautify Walla Walla, including by installing a wishing well at Fort Walla Walla, contributing to the Pioneer Park fountain and planting dogwood trees on the Walla Walla High School campus.

Lu said club members held meetings and picnics at the wishing well and that the dogwoods are still there and all grown up.

After 54 years, "We don't garden like we used to - I have two new knees now," Lu said. But they still meet once a month.

Other charter members are Dorothy Soderstrom, Virginia Heacock, Jean Swank and Polly Livengood. Longtime members include Norma Griff, Jean /Anderson, Donna Kennedy, Lillian McClure, Donna Gifford, Beverly Ellis, Marge Gilmore and later Arlene Zier, Susanne Estes and Margaret Thompson. Lois Briggs and Mitzi Bierwagen were unable to attend the anniversary bash.

The women first met in fall 1955 to talk about organizing a club, held their first meeting on Feb. 23, 1956, at which point they chose the name that's stuck. They promote the art of gardening and the study of horticulture. They've enjoyed tours and speakers, brought flowers to nursing homes; made crafts for the Christmas bazaar, held yard sales and other activities.

With money earned and increased dues, the club has continued to donate time and funds to many community projects. When they met on the first Tuesday evening of the month, it was considered "mom's night out," and the children stayed at home with their dads. Dues were just 25 cents, when members attended.

"It is a very social group, lasting friendships have developed over time," Lu said. They held barbecues, dress-up parties and golf tournaments to which spouses are invited.

"Most members are in their 80s, some still digging in their own gardens," Lu said. The women meet for lunch or visit a daytime place of interest. "They just keep going, going, going," she said.

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Walla Walla Branch of the American Association of University Women will host the 2010 Washington state AAUW convention April 16-18 at Walla Walla Community College. The theme of the meeting is Washington Women: From Suffrage to Success, which celebrates the centennial of women's right to vote in the state of Washington.

The convention will kick off April 16 with a Pink Tea at the WWCC Enology Center. Convention guests will include a national speaker on leadership programs for women, a Senior Policy Specialist from the Washington State Department of Ecology, and an AAUW Fellowship Award recipient.

In addition, there are 14 workshops to choose from, something for everyone. The April 17 banquet speaker, Linda Lawrence Hunt, is authored the award-winning book "Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk across Victorian America." A STEM panel discussion on April 18 will feature four women with exceptional experience in science, technology, engineering and math. They will address their experiences in these fields of study, where girls and women are underrepresented.

This session might be of particular interest to local teachers and is open to all with no registration required. The convention will end on April 18 with a grand finale birthday party celebrating women's right to vote in Washington state for 100 years.

Members and non-members of AAUW are invited to attend. Registration materials, workshop descriptions and brief resumes of the speakers are available at the state Web site www.aauw-wa.org. The deadline for the early registration rate is March 15; regular registration, April 1. If you have any questions, please contact the convention co-chairs Alice MacDonald at 509-522-5428 or Darcy Henry at 509-525-2166.

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Ole Olesen, pastor of Milton-Freewater Adventist Church, spoke with Milton-Freewater Rotarians during the club's March 3 meeting. In July and August 2008, Ole and wife Vonnie spent five weeks of their summer sabbatical in Israel, reported Rotary member Robby Robbins.

They joined an archaeological dig and explored the area to learn about the history that goes back thousands of years. While in country, they traveled from Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba in the south, to the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon on the Syrian border in the north and the Mediterranean Sea on the Lebanese border.

Ole told Rotarians that he and Vonnie treasured their time in Ashkelon, Jerusalem, Tiberius, Haifa and Tel Aviv/Jaffa. His presentation included an overlay of northern Israel over Southeastern Washington and Northeastern Oregon, revealing that it covers an area essentially from Dayton to Kennewick and south to Pendleton.

The Olesens visited several sites in the Holy Land. They hired taxi drivers in Jordan to see the Plains of Madaba, Mount Nebo, the Jordan River baptismal site and Petra. In Israel they toured by bus, taxi or rental car to Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Jericho, Qumran, Masada, Nazareth and sites around the Sea of Galilee.

They volunteered at a dig at Tel es-Safi/Gath, hometown of Goliath during the Philistine period.

Ole said many of the area's wars and political issues can be traced to a need for fresh water. Nearly all the water for Israel, the Palestinian areas of the West Bank, and the Kingdom of Jordan comes from the Jordan River, which is fed by mountain streams flowing into the Sea of Galilee, 686 feet below sea level.

Very little water is allowed to reach the Dead Sea, still lower in the Great Rift Valley. Once in the Dead Sea, water can't be made potable. For more information contact Ole at 541-938-3066.

In other club news, Marilyn McBride said there were no reports of serious problems for Rotary Youth Exchange students from the Chile area following the devastating earthquakes. Robby said David Jensen's host family and his classmates in the Coquimbo and La Serena area are fine. John Thunell reported that in Rancagua, Chile, where his daughter, Kim, was a Rotary Youth Exchange student in 1987-88, there was some damage but the people are OK.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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