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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
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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: T-V

Continually updated, last time: April 22, 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.

Arthur C. "Art" Thompson, Sedro-Woolley
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Aug. 20, 2003
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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.

      Arthur C. "Art" Thompson, 84, a longtime Sedro-Woolley resident, passed away at Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2003. Art was born Feb. 11, 1919, in Burlington, the son of Carl E. and Stella A. (Thue) Thompson. He was raised and attended school in Sedro-Woolley, graduating from Sedro-Woolley High School. In high school, Art was active in school activities. He played in the band, was class treasurer and was captain of the football team.
      During World War II, Art served in the U.S. Marines. After his discharge he returned to Sedro-Woolley and worked at Northern State Hospital as a carpenter. In the late 1940s he went to California where he worked at a redwood mill in Scotia, Calif. and played music with local bands. It was while playing music that he met his future wife, Ginger Hemphill, who was from the Bow area. They were married in [the town of] Allen in 1951 and made their home in California until 1958 when they returned home to Sedro-Woolley.
      Art once again worked as a carpenter at Northern State until its closure, but continued building homes in the area for several years. Art loved music and played drums with several bands around the Skagit valley, including Ernie Tyree and Harold Knudson, for many years. He especially loved jazz and Big Band Era music. But most important to Art was his love for his family. He was a member of the American Legion, the Elks Lodge, the Masonic Lodge and the Musicians Union.
      Art is survived by his wife of 52 years, Ginger, at the family home in Sedro-Woolley; his daughter and son-in-law, Rosalee and Doug Friedl of Burlington; one grandson, Scott Friedl of Burlington and one step-granddaughter, Traci Friedl of Olympia; a brother and sister-in-law, Fred and Helen Thompson in California and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant son, Gordy Thompson.
      A life celebration for Art was 2 p.m. Saturday at Lemley Chapel in Sedro-Woolley Aug. 16, 2003, officiated by Mike Milnes. Cremation and services under direction of Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley.

Henry Tingley, Sedro-Woolley
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times , November 1946
      Henry J. Tingley, aged 65, a lifetime resident of Sedro-Woolley and vicinity, died here Wednesday, November 29. He as born on Sept. 25, 1881. He leaves five children, James Tingley and Walter Tingley of here, Mrs. Elizabeth Drake of Burlington, Mrs. Katherine McKay of Seattle and Lillian of Burlington; two brothers, Ben of here and Oliver of Nebraska; a sister, Mrs. Lillian Anderson of route 3, Sedro-Woolley, and three grandchildren. Burial will be in Sedro-Woolley, preceded by a requiem mass at St. Mary's Catholic church, Rev. Edmond Long conducting the service.
      Ed. note: The patriarch of this family was Samuel S. Tingley, who first came to Washington territory in 1859 and returned after the Civil War to become a blacksmith in Mount Vernon and a timber cruiser on the south side of the Skagit, upriver in the Day Creek, Happy Valley area.

Nelle Blanche [Angevine] Tingley, Concrete
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, March 19, 1949
      Nelle Blanche Tingley, 54, who lived her entire life in Skagit county, died of a heart attack at her home on Route 1, Concrete, March 3, 1949. Funeral services were held March 7 at 2 p.m. at Lemley Mortuary with the Rev. Albert Eisenhart officiating. Burial was in Lyman cemetery.
      Mrs. Tingley was born Dec. 28 1894, at Burlington. Surviving are her husband, Ben H. Tingley; six sons, Lawrence of Burlington, Allen and Ben Jr., both of Sedro-Woolley, and Bill Robert, and Jack, all of Concrete; three daughters, Mrs. May Alaway of Cleveland, Ohio, Mrs. Dixie Grimbley of Sedro-Woolley and Annette Tingley of Concrete; two brothers, Sherman Angevine and Clayton [Angevine], both of Port Angeles; three sisters, Mrs. Ethel Marchant of Big Lake, Mrs. Annette Todd of Bellingham, and Mrs. Agnes Flaherty of Sedro-Woolley, and 13 grandchildren.

(Pat Tomkins)
Pat M. Tomkins, Arizona
Undated 2003 Arizona newspaper
      Patricia "Pat" Mae Tomkins, 65, of Kingman died Aug. 5, 2003, at Kingman Regional Medical Center. Mrs. Tomkins was born Feb. 7, 1938, in Denver, Colo. She came to Kinglman 11 years ago from Yuma. She attended Yuma High School and was employed in the banking field. She was a member of Mt. Zion church in Yuma. [Pat was the granddaughter of Maurice Hamilton and the great-granddaughter of Hamilton founder, William Hamilton.]
      Mrs. Tomkins is survived by her husband, John Tomkins of Kingman; three sons, Michael Tomkins of Kingman, Steven Tomkins of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Eddie Tomkins of Mesa; one daughter, Amy Sanasac of Yuma; four grandsons, Alexander and Andrew Tomkins of Chandler. Seth Sanasac of Yuma and Kyle Tomkins of Kingman; two granddaughters, Sarah Sanasac of Yuma and Tommi Tomkins of Kingman; two sisters, Mary Sims and Judy Campbell of Yuma; and one brother, Richard Hamilton of Kingman.
      Visitation will be held at on Friday, Aug. 8, 2003, at Sutton Memorial Funeral Home. Services will follow at Sutton Memorial Funeral Home. Ms. Tomkins's remains will be cremated following services.
      Ed. note: Pat and John were very generous to share their research into the Hamilton family. John sent us another story that pointed out their 46th anniversary date, Sept. 13. He met her when she volunteered at the USO while John was an airman.

Iris Torset, Stanwood, Sedro-Woolley and Mount Vernon
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times Jan. 23, 2008
      Iris Mae Torset, age 89, passed away on Friday, Jan. 18, 2008, at the Life Care Center of Skagit Valley in Sedro-Woolley. She was born on Feb. 11, 1918, in Mount Vernon, the child of Albert and Elsie (Tallman) Whitehead. Iris grew up in Stanwood, attending school and graduating from Stanwood High School in 1934.
      She married John G. Torset on Oct. 28, 1938, in Mount Vernon. The couple moved to Sero-Woolley in 1944 and resided there until moving to Mount Vernon in 196y6. They celebrated 60 years together until John's passing in June of 1999.
      Iris was a member of the Sedro-Woolley Eagles for 40 years, along with also being a member of the VASA Lodge. She enjoyed fishing, gardening, her Bible studies on Thursdays and spending her winters in Needles, Calif., before the passing of her late husband John. Most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren.
      Iris is survived by her four sons John Torset and his wife Carol of Hannah City, Ill.; Lynn Torset and his wife Carol of Sedro-Woolley; Marc Torset and his wife Rose of Sedro-Woolley and Nick and Terry of Sedro-Woolley; five daughters, Rosalie Setzer of Ferndale, Lynette Sherman of palmer, Alaska; Ila Hurd of Everett; Kathy Hill of Stanwood and Dorita Morrison and her husband John of Marlemount; her brother Alan Whitehead and his wife Phyllis of Stanwood; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
      She was preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Elsie Whitehead; her loving husband, John Torset; son, Mickey Torset; three brothers, Lawrence, Barney and Chet; a sister, Ruth; and two grandchildren, Rick Perrin and Rick Osborne. Iris loved her family and her friends and will be missed.
      A Graveside Service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008, at 11 a.m. at the Sero-Woolley Union Cemetery with Pastor Geroge Hanson of Harveest Vision Ministries officiating. A potluck for friends and family will follow the services at 11:30 a.m. at the Sedro-Woolley Eagles, 1000 Metcalf St. Visitations will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Friday at Lemley Chapel. Memorials are suggested to the Lion's Sight and Hearing Foundation or a charity of your choice. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley. Share memories of Iris and sign the online guest register at

Earl Van Fleet, Sedro-Woolley, and Skiyou
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times Nov. 16, 1939
      Earl Van Fleet, well known local farmer, who sent on a clam digging expedition to Samish island on Sunday night with Jimmy Atwell, Carl Razer and two others, has not been seen since and the fear that he was drowned in the channel increases steadily.
      After digging clams the men started ashore, walking across the mud flats. In some way, Van Fleet became separated from the group and later his companions were unable to find him. Sheriff Pat McCarthy and his deputies have conducted a thorough search for him along the waterfront and in all the cabins but without success.
      Mrs. Van Fleet and two sons, Ray and Vergil [Virgil], are still hopeful that Van Fleet may yet be found alive, although at press time today they had no trace of him.
      Ed. note: Just put Van Fleet in the search box below and you will find a whole group of stories about the pioneer family. Emmett and Eliza Van Fleet moved to the Skiyou area in 1880 and were key figures in the settlement of Sedro.

Benjamin Dubois Vanderveer, Sedro-Woolley and Alaska
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Feb. 20, 1947
      Benjamin Dubois Vanderveer of 336 Warner street died at the Memorial Hospital on Feb. 16, 1947, aged 81 years, after an illness of several months. Funeral services were held at Lemley's chapel on Feb. 20, with the members of the local IOOF lodge in charge of the services, which were conducted by George Stephens and E.A. Giffen. Interment was in the IOOF cemetery.
      The casketbearers, all members of the IOOF lodge, includes the following: Earl Clinchard, George Harrison, Paul Rhodius, Enos Cudmore, Fred Howell and Walter Hutton.
      "Van," as he was known to his many friends, was born June 2, 1865, at Carlyle, Ohio, and had resided in Sedro-Woolley for the next 50 years. He is survived by his wife, Clara; three daughters, Mrs. Jennie Rhine of Seattle, Mrs. Nellie McGowan of Everett and Mrs. Gertrude Foley of Sedro-Woolley. Besides being an active member for years of the IOOF lodge, he was a member of the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias.
      Ed. note: Ben Vanderveer was a saloon owner at the junction of Sedro and Woolley at the time of the merger of the towns in 1898 and was well known as a gold miner in the Klondike. He apparently traveled back and forth between the two area often. We found a newspaper story from May 1908 that announced his sale of "Van's Place" at the southern dead end of Metcalf street to Jimmie Blackburn, who owned it for the next three decades in partnership with Eddie Adams. It was long known as the B&A Buffet, especially during Prohibition when it was nominally a pool hall. The building was opened as a saloon by George Ruel sometime after he arrived here from Michigan in 1892. The first mention of it — in the limited newspapers surviving from that area, is from 1899. Sometime at the turn of the century, Vanderveer and Charles Lyon bought it.
      By 1908, Vanderveer was deeply involved with gravel dredging for gold ore in Alaska. In 1913 he worked with Skagit Steel & Iron Works to produce a steam donkey for the dredging, an invention that turned out to be very profitable for the McIntyre family as they took over the Skagit Steel company. Then in 1919 Vanderveer and Sedro-Woolley druggist Paul Rhodius financed the July Creek Mining Co. on Fourth of July creek in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve to dredge up gold ore from the alluvial gravel. The house that Vanderveer built on Warner street at the turn of the century is the only residence in town with a full three stories and it is now owned by Jean Lisherness, widow of former police chief Norm Lisherness. Vanderveer was also known for his sense of humor and he was one of the prime instigators in the apocryphal story of how one of P.A. Woolley's son ate a ballot and caused the hyphenated name of the town.

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Story posted on Sept. 1, 2003, and last updated April 22, 2011
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