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Clyde Wilson came to Clarkston in 1926 at the age of five, and grew up as one of seven siblings. His mother’s family was from Iowa, and his Dad’s from Idaho. His father worked on the early Potlatch dam and then at the Potlatch mill and his mother was a housewife. As kids did during the depression, he had a job working at the Seventh St. Grocery while in high school and stayed on there after graduation. He joined the army in 1942, serving on the West Coast in the 63rd AAA gunnery battalion guarding Boeing Field and also sites in the South Pacific. When he was discharged in 1946, he followed his Dad to the mill, then worked for Morgan Brothers, Adams Auto Sales, and then returned to Potlatch as a millwright in 1954. He retired in 1983.
    Ella Mae Wilson came to Clarkston in 1940. Her mother’s family (the Winkle family) was from Tennessee, and her father had always lived in Washington. Ella Mae’s father was a mail carrier and her mother a housewife. She had one sister. She worked for Jane’s Cleaners while in Clarkston High School and then after graduation, went to work for Montgomery Ward in Lewiston, first at what is now the Sylvan’s Furniture site downtown, and then in the Lewiston Mall (at the current Gottschalk’s site) in 1965. She retired in 1982 when the store closed.
    Although they were neighbors living across the street from each other (not far from the house they later lived in as a family for 43 years), they met on a blind date at the YWCA in Lewiston. They were married October 4, 1946 at the Trinity Lutheran Church manse. They brought up two boys, Rod and Ken. Four generations of   Wilson's worked at Potlatch over the years: Clyde and his father, and Clyde’s two sons, and 3 grandchildren. Rod currently lives in Clarkston, and Ken lives in Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania.
    The Wilson's joined the Presbyterian Church on Easter Sunday 1955 with Clyde and their sons being    baptized at that time. The Rev. George Hendricks was the pastor, and Elvie Pittwood was the secretary. She was a hardworking, wonderful person, in charge of keeping the history of the church, and assisting in most of the activities taking place. Gene Parsons was the head usher. Rod and Ken were active in youth groups, and went on to Washington State University after high school.
    Clyde served as a trustee, a deacon, and an elder, while Ella Mae served two terms as a deacon doing duty often as treasurer. The church benefited from Clyde’s skills with wood and his well-appointed wood shop: he built our communion table, bookcases, a podium, the coffee cart, window valances, the TV cabinet in the OWLS room, and many other pieces. Their garden produced a bounty every year and Clyde had a free “farmer’s market” from the trunk of his car on Sundays. Ella Mae, with her cooking and baking skills, shared with diners at the many dinners and coffee hours the church has year after year.
    Tri-State Hospital, the Elks, and the Pautler Center are only three of the many organizations, which have benefited from their generous sharing of time and talent. Clyde served on the cemetery board, Asotin County Transportation Board, and for 18 years, the Southeast Washington’s Aging and Long Term Care board, was also on the founding of the Pautler Senior Center serving 15 years on the board. At Clyde’s funeral on July 2, 2007, the church burst at the seams with mourners, reflecting his involvement in the community and the esteem in which he was held.
    Early on, Ella Mae and Clyde were members of the young married couples’ club, called Mariners, then   renamed the Clipper Club. They served as various officers in this group. Later, they joined the OWLS, served on the board and on the travel committee. Ella Mae continues in the Bible Study led by Gary McIntosh.
    Ella Mae writes, “The Presbyterian Church has been our church home for 52 years and we have seen many changes. Some we liked, and some we were unhappy with, but things always worked out. We have been truly blessed to be members and to have so many wonderful friends in the congregation. My faith and Clyde’s faith grew over the years and it has sustained us.”
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Phone: 509 758-3381
Fax:    509 758-3382
Clarkston First Presbyterian Church
1122 Diagonal, Clarkston
Washington 99403