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helen
I was born in Stockton, California on July 7, 1919. When I was about two years old, my father died. My Mother went to work on a  cattle ranch because she could keep me with her. After numerous scares, like me wandering in among the cattle, trying to see the bottom of the well, and other events, she decided that wasn’t a place to raise an inquisitive youngster.

    Mother had a brother, aunt, and uncle in Mullan, Idaho, so we moved there. She worked in a boarding house, cooking and serving meals. I was left in the care of my aunt and uncle during this time. Mother met and later married Albert Petersen and when I was six years old, my brother Stanley was born. Albert adopted me when I was 12 years old. He was a wonderful father to me. He had worked underground in the mines and        developed “miner’s con,” consumption of the lungs.  Doctors thought he would do better at a lower elevation, so we then moved to the Lewiston Orchards.

    I attended the Old Orchard School through the 8th grade, then attended high school in Lewiston, graduating from there in 1937. My father, Albert, passed away when I was 16. I knew then, there was no chance for further education. I met LeRoy and we were married on January 31, 1938. Many said it wouldn’t last as we were too young to know what we were doing, but we managed 63 years and eight months before he passed away. We had two children, Diana and Robert, and between them, they had eight children. I’ve lost one grandchild, David Meyer. Of my 18 great-grandchildren, Kyle Meyer died. Of the five great-great grandchildren, I’ve lost one, Tori Ruchert.  My husband LeRoy was a carpenter, raised by his grandparents. His grandfather was a talented architect who built the first sidewalks in Clarkston, the original Clarkston High School, the original Asotin High School, and many other structures in this area.  His sons were all in the building trade. In 1941, LeRoy, his Dad and Uncles, started a home for us at 1136 9th Street in Clarkston, but the war came along and we were unable to get materials to finish it.

   LeRoy was turned down by the military services, so he went to Portland to work at Swan Island Shipyard. The children and I joined him later.  After we came back to the Valley, he worked for PFI. Years later, he was injured on the job and could no longer do the work he’d been doing. From then on he worked all over the western states. I remained in Clarkston to keep the children in one school as I didn’t want them to change schools as often as he was moving with his jobs.

    In 1959, I started working part-time as a bookkeeper for Grimes Appliances in Clarkston. It soon turned into a full-time job and I worked for Les Grimes for about six years. Then I worked at Speer, Inc. in Lewiston as a bookkeeper for five years.

    One of the interesting things about my husband is that he was born on the church parking lot. Not as it is today, of course, but when he was born in his grandparents’ home, it was next door to the current house north of the parking lot on 12th St., next was the manse and then the Old Presbyterian church.  That was still the arrangement when LeRoy and I were married. I don’t recall the year that the new Church was started, but I do have a picture of when they moved his grandparents’ home.

    The largest part of my life was, and is, associated with Clarkston Presbyterian Church. I joined the Church when George Hendrick was our Pastor the first time, probably in the 1950s. LeRoy started coming to church with me at that time and was very active, along with Mel Hand, in maintaining things. At one point, LeRoy went to Hanford to find work, so we moved to Richland, Washington. There we attended the West Side Presbyterian Church which LeRoy joined, and then we both transferred our membership back to Clarkston when Will Ackles was Pastor. I worked in the office as receptionist for awhile. When I started going to First Presbyterian, we had Women’s Circle meetings once a month; also Women’s Association Meetings. At that time, there was a group of ladies who served luncheons to various groups like the Rotary Club. I remember our group consisted of Mabel Smith, Katherine Slocum, Lulu Prince, Martha Barkley, and myself. We had so much fun putting on those luncheons.

    LeRoy and I were among the first ones who were on the OWLS Travel Committee. We enjoyed many years of traveling with them. We made our last trip with them in September 1999 when we traveled to Edmonton, Canada. I only made one trip with them after LeRoy passed away.
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Phone: 509 758-3381
Fax:    509 758-3382
Clarkston First Presbyterian Church
1122 Diagonal, Clarkston
Washington 99403