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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
600 of 700 total Free Home Page Stories & Photos
(Also see our Subscribers Magazine Sample)
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit

Covers from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish & BC. An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Biographies and obituaries of Skagit county
Pioneers and their descendants: Q-R

Continually updated, last time: May 17, 2011
      You will find the type of story in brackets ( ) behind the file link. (Bio) indicates a Journal story link. (Obit) leads to an obituary on this page. If you have suggestions for people you want to read about, please email us and we will add them to the list. Meanwhile, just click on the link and it will take you to the obit for each person, along with our notes, if we have more information, or a link to another page that will tell you more about him or her. Please note that if a woman was the descendant of a pioneer family, her link will be listed under the first letter of both her maiden name and her married name at the time of her death. And please email us if you have family memories or copies of documents or photos you would like us to include. We never ask for your originals.

    Any time, any amount, please help build our travel and research fund for what promises to be a very busy 2011, traveling to mine resources from California to Washington and maybe beyond. Depth of research determined by the level of aid from readers. Because of our recent illness, our research fund is completely bare. See many examples of how you can aid our project and help us continue for another ten years. And subscriptions to our optional Subscribers Online Magazine (launched 2000) by donation too. Thank you.

We recently visited our newest sponsor, Plumeria Bay, which is based in Birdsview, just a short walk away from the Royal family's famous Stumpranch, and is your source for the finest down comforters, pillows, featherbeds & duvet covers and bed linens. Order directly from their website and learn more about this intriguing local business.

Harold J. Renfro, Sedro-Woolley
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Jan. 30, 2003
      Harold J. Renfro, 98, a lifelong resident of Sedro-Woolley, passed away Jan. 30, 2003, at the Life Care Center of Skagit Valley in Sedro-Woolley.
      Harold was born in Sedro-Woolley Dec. 14, 1904, the son of James H. and Flora V. Wall Renfro. He was raised and attended school in Sedro-Woolley, graduating from Sedro-Woolley High School in 1926, after returning from Seattle where he was a brickmason.
      Harold had already passed his civil service exam and finally began working in the U.S. Postal Service in 1927 when a job became available in Sedro-Woolley. On July 16, 1929, he was united in marriage to Dorothy Bradford in Snohomish, Wash., and they made their home together in Sedro-Woolley until her death in 1985. Harold was a postal carrier in town for 23 years and then took a driving rural route for 12 years. He had recalled being one of the first out after heavy snow storms and delivering mail to wives and family of servicemen overseas during the wars. He retired in 1962.
      Harold enjoyed photography and was one of the first in Sedro-Woolley to take color photos. He also liked hiking and fishing and was one of the organizing founders of the Wildcat Steelhead Club. He and several of his fishing friends over the years hiked into and stocked more than 22 lakes and streams with fish in the North Cascades.
      He was a member of the I.O.O.F. since 1922, the alpine Club, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the Wildcat Steelhead Club and the Sedro-Woolley museum.
      Harold is survived by his daughter, Dolores Renfro of Sedro-Woolley, numerous nieces and nephews and many friends. He was also preceded in death by this sisters, Sarah and Gussie Renfro.
      Funeral services are scheduled for Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. at Lemley Chapel in Sedro-Woolley. Inurnment will be in the I.O.O.F. section of Sedro-Woolley Union Cemetery. Visitation is available through services Feb. 5, followed by cremation under direction of Lemley chapel. Sedro-Woolley. Memorials are suggested to the Humane Society of Skagit County or the Arthritis Foundation. Share thoughts and memories of Harold by signing the online guest register at

Bert Rhine, Sedro-Woolley and Seattle
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Dec. 31, 1942
      Bert Rhine, for many years a prominent citizen of Sedro-Woolley, died suddenly Monday night at his home in Seattle, Where he and his wife had been living for some time. He was employed in a shipyard and had been suffering from heart trouble for some time. Funeral services will be held this Saturday in Seattle. Rhine was 71 years of age.
      Bert Rhine was one of this city's pioneer citizens, coming here in 1889. His mother was Mrs. Barney and he is a half brother of Clarence Barney. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Jennie Rhine, and by two sons, Dubois Rhine and Gerald Rhine, who are now in California, and a daughter, Mrs. Kathryn Tholstrop of Seattle. He was a son-in-law of Mrs. B.D. Vanderveer of Sedro-Woolley.
      Rhine operated a candy and confectionery store in Sedro-Woolley for many years and at one time owned and operated a shingle mill. More recently he was employed by the state department of agriculture as a weights inspector, and was well known to all local businessmen. He held this position for eight years.

Mae (maiden Drum) Rhine, Sedro-Woolley
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, May 14, 1942
      Mrs. Mae M. Rhine, a resident of this city since 1890, died this morning in the Memorial hospital after an illness of several days. Funeral services will be held in the Lemley chapel at 2:30 o'clock May 16 with the Rev. Arthur Brown Jr., pastor of the Presbyterian church in charge, and burial will be in the Union cemetery beside her husband, Jack Rhine, who died several years ago.
      Mrs. Rhine, born in Syracuse, Nebraska, May 2, 1881, is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Clifford Inez Gilbertson of this city and Mrs. Rhea Parrington of the Philippine islands; two sisters Mrs. Thomas Thompson of Marblemount and Mrs. Loretta Grave,, Okanogan county; a brother, Louis Drum, Concrete, and one granddaughter.
      Following her husband's death, Mrs. Rhine operated the Eagle Cafe for a number of years, and after selling out, took a trip to the Philippines to visit her daughter for a year. Mrs. Rhine was a member of the Rebekah lodge, the Territorial Daughters of Washington and Charles Carroll of Carrolton chapter of the D.A.R.
      Ed. note: We do not know the relationship between Mrs. Mae Rhine and Bert Rhine, who died seven months later, but we suspect that her husband, Jack Rhine, may have been Burt's brother. We also do not know for sure the location of the Eagle Café, but some have proposed that it may have been a later name for what in the Teen years was called the Rainier Café, just west of the old B&A Buffet tavern on State street. That is about where Hendrickson Realty stands today. We hope that a family member or someone familiar with the town back then can supply more information.

George Fredrick Robinson, Lyman
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, March 01, 1951, p. 1
      George Fredrick Robinson, 76, were held at 2:00 p.m. yesterday at Lemley Funeral Home. A resident of Lyman for 43 years, he died at Mathew General Hospital, Burlington on Sunday. He was born June 03, 1879 in Valleyfield, Quebec. He is survived by his wife, Josephine, son Douglas of Sedro-Woolley, daughter Mrs. Helen Rooke of Los Angeles, brother Henry of Regina, Sask. and 5 grandchildren. (Robinson was the husband of Jennie Cooper, a sister to Henry Cooper) (Obit provided by Ened Roughton)

Laurence "Bud" Russell, Hamilton
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, June 28, 1956
      Laurence David "Bud" Russell, a lifelong resident of Hamilton, died June 26 at Rowley Hospital, Mount Vernon. Funeral services were held in the chapel of the Lemley Mortuary June 28. Rev. A.W. Wilson of the the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church officiated and interment was in the Hamilton cemetery.
      Mr. Russell was born at Birdsview Aug. 17, 1899, the youngest son of the late David and Maggie Russell, pioneer upriver settlers. He had lived in the Hamilton area all his life, engaged in the lumbering industry. In recent years he had been a partner with Robert Mullen in the sawmill business. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Elks of Mount Vernon. Mr. Russell is survived by three brothers, J.R. Russell of Hagerman, Idaho, Josh W. Russell of Seattle and Carl H. Russell of Port Angeles; one sister, Gertrude Bertalan of Snohomish.
      Ed. note: Bud's father, David Russell, was an unheralded but key bridge builder in Skagit county. He married Margaret O'Connor in Fort Sydney, Nebraska, on June 17, 1884. Bud's older brother, James Robert, was the first white child born in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. They moved to Snohomish county in 1890 where he met Richard Thompson. Thompson would become famous for being the posthumous namesake of the Baker river bridge near Concrete. Thompson taught Russell how to design and build bridges and when he moved to Birdsview, Russell moved there also. He eventually built 17 bridges in this region, including the original Third street bridge across the Skagit river from Sedro-Woolley to Clear Lake. The family moved to Hamilton in 1905, where Margaret was one of the organizers of the Hamilton cemetery.
      The family intermarried with several key pioneer Skagit county families. James Robert Russell married Janie Thompson, daughter of Richard. Bud's brother, Fred O'Connor Russell, married Mildred C. Rayment and he was a representative to the Washington state legislature for one term. Margaret's sister Nora joined them upriver and married Henry Tingley, son of Day creek pioneer Samuel S. Tingley.

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Story posted Sept. 1, 2003, last updated and moved to this domain May 17, 2011
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(bullet) Our newest sponsor, Plumeria Bay, is based in Birdsview, just a short walk away from the Royal family's famous Stumpranch, and is your source for the finest down comforters, pillows, featherbeds andduvet covers and bed linens. Order directly from their website and learn more about this intriguing local business.
(bullet) Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 90 years continually in business.
(bullet) Peace and quiet at the Alpine RV Park, just north of Marblemount on Hwy 20, day, week or month, perfect for hunting or fishing
Park your RV or pitch a tent by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley — doubling in size for RVs and camping in 2011.
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