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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: L

Continually updated, last time: May 15, 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.

Frank LaRoche Jr, Sedro-Woolley and Bremerton
Unknown newspaper, Nov. 15, 1948
      Frank LaRoche Jr., son of a pioneer Seattle photographer, died yesterday in a Bremerton hospital after a year's illness. He was 65 years old. Mr. LaRoche came to Seattle from Iowa with his family in 1888. His father, the late Frank LaRoche Sr., opened a photographic studio here and also took widely reproduced pictures of the Alaska Gold Rush.
      Mr. LaRoche entered his father's business. He moved the studio to Bremerton in 1930, retiring in 1944. He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. J.J. Okeson of Bremerton, and a son, Harold LaRoche of Seattle. Funeral services will be conducted tomorrow at the Miller-Reynolds chapel in Bremerton. Cremation will follow.
      Ed. note: See Issue 16 of our online subscribers magazine for the story of the LaRoche photographers, father and son, and their photographs.

Lillie Belle Larrabee, Sedro-Woolley
Probably Skagit Valley Herald, Undated 1969
      Funeral services for Lillie Belle Larrabee, 80, pioneer resident of Sedro-Woolley, will be held at Monday at Lemley Funeral Home. She died Wednesday. Mrs. Larrabee was born in Sedro-Woolley, a month before statehood [Nov. 11, 1889]. She was a member of the territorial Daughters and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.
      [Part of column cut off starting here.] Survivors include two sons, Theron of Sedro-Woolley and David of Mt. Vernon; a daughter, Mrs. Stanley Butler of Burlington; a sister, Mrs. Ed [So??] of Lemmon Grove, Calif.; four half-brothers, [Wendell??] Moore of Burlington, [Lor??] and Gilbert Moore of Seattle and Tom Moore of Bremerton; two half-sisters, Sally [??] of Seattle and Ella [Nagle??] of Wenatchee, five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Burial will be in the Sedro-Woolley Cemetery.

Ethel M. [maiden Guddall] Lemley, Sedro-Woolley
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times or Skagit Valley Herald, March 2000
      Ethel M. Lemley passed away March 19, 2000, at her home in Sedro-Woolley at the age of 97 years. She was born March 6, 1903, in Thor, Iowa, the eldest of five children of John and Elsie Springer Guddall, a pioneer banking family of Sedro-Woolley.
      Ethel grew up in Sedro-Woolley, graduating from Sedro-Woolley High School with the class of 1922. She later attended Washington State [College] for three years, majoring in home economics as well as being a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
      She married Harold V. Lemley on May 19, 1928, in Sedro-Woolley and in 1935 they purchased Higley Funeral Home and began the three generation funeral service firm of Lemley [Mortuary].
      Ethel was actively involved with the operation of the funeral home with her husband, Harold, for many years, as well as being an active member of the community. She was a member of PEO, Soroptimist International of Sedro-Woolley and during WWII she was involved with the Red Cross as well as serving on the Election Board for many years. She enjoyed knitting, crocheting, ceramics, cooking and hosting birthday parties for family, friends and the neighborhood children.
      She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold in January 1987, as well as her parents, a sister, Elaine, and brother, John. Survivors include: two sons and daughters-in-law, Robert G. and Judy Lemley and Richard V. and JoAnna Lemley of Sedro-Woolley; daughter and son-in-law, Lou Ann and Denny Davis of Mount Vernon; grandchildren, Kathry Bodrock, Rick and his wife, Debbie Lemley, Randy and his wife, Marlene Lemley, Caron Halle, Leslie Lemley, Corrine and her husband, Todd Richter, and Brad and his wife, Gloria Davis; 14 great-grandchildren, Tara and Brady O'Brien, Eric Bodrock, Evan, Lauren and Kayla Lemley, Carissa, Jonathan and James Lemley, Gretchen Halle, Grace Smith, Zachary and Benjamin Richter, and Bo Davis; two sisters, Helen and her husband, Erwin French of Seattle, and Harriett Eaton of Sedro-Woolley.

Frances Lisherness, Lyman
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, Sept. 25, 1947
      Funeral services for Mrs. Frances Lisherness, 74, of Lyman, were held Tuesday, September 23, at the Lemley Chapel in Sedro-Woolley. A Lyman resident for 35 years, Mrs. Lisherness, wife of Herbert W. Lisherness, passed away Wednesday, September 17, at the family home in Lyman.
      Mrs. Lisherness was born Nov. 2, 1874, in Indiana. She was a member of the Rebekah Lodge, Territorial Daughters and American Legion Auxiliary in Sedro-Woolley. Surviving here are her husband, three sons, Clayton of Concrete, Al of Sedro-Woolley, Ralph of Lyman; two daughters, Mrs. Blanche Carmichael of LOs Angeles, Mrs. Mildred Wyatt of Seattle; one sister, Mrs. Mary Davis of Everett; also eleven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. The Rev. Wayne Griffin of Sedro-Woolley officiated at the last rites. Interment was in the Lyman cemetery.

Charles W. Lederle, Sedro-Woolley
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times May 3, 1956
      Charles W. Lederle, a former councilman for 14 years, was buried yesterday in the Odd Fellows cemetery. Mr. Lederle died in Memorial Hospital on Sunday. He was born July 12, 1875, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. During his early boyhood his family moved to Kansas where they remained until 1888 when they moved to Washington Territory.
      The family homesteaded in the Utopia district, which was a wilderness at that time. He married Miss Henny Larson on April 6, 1907, in Sedro-Woolley. Mr. And Mrs. Lederle lived at North Bend for a few years where he engaged in the laundry business. He owned and operated Lederle Shoe Store here for many years.
      Mr. Lederle was a past master of the F&AM [Masonic] Lodge No. 93, and past patron of the Order of the Eastern Star. He was also a member of the Scottish Rite and the Nile Temple Shrine.
      Services were held yesterday in the Lemley Mortuary Chapel. The Rev. V. Carlos Shafer read [garbled typo]. United Lodge No. 93, officiated. Interment was in the I.O.O.F. cemetery, Sedro-Woolley. He is survived by his wife, a son, Charles Lederle, Sedro-Woolley; a daughter, Louise Moe, Kennewick; a brother, Fred Lederle; three sisters, Minnie Batey, Sedro-Woolley, Caroline Smith, Seattle, and Sophe Campbell, Everett. There are five grandchildren.
      Ed. note: The Lederle family, also German immigrants, will be profiled later this summer. Greer Drummond, owner of Valley Hardware in Sedro-Woolley, is a nephew of old Jake Lederle, who was once town marshal.

(Maine Saloon)
      Reader Larry Harnden Jr. graciously donated this photo to our project. The only identifier on the back reads: Lederle's Maine Saloon, Sedro-Woolley, Washington. We believe that this saloon belonged to Jake Lederle or one of his sons and stood on the north side of Ferry street, pre-Prohibition, connected to the Forest House hotel and boarding house. During Prohibition — 1916-1933 in Washington, it was a pool hall, with ready access to booze if you knew the right people and had the cash. We hope that I reader will have more information about the family and the saloon.

Ruth [maiden Atterberry] Lewis, Utopia and Anacortes
Family obituary

(Lois Atterberry)
      Ruth Lamyra [Atterberry] Lewis, 91, of Anacortes, died at Life Care Center, Sedro-Woolley, January 6, 2007. Ruth was born in Sedro-Woolley, WA, July 28, 1915 to Ernest and Nettie Atterberry. She grew up on the Atterberry, BAR-A, Ranch by Minkler Lake near Lyman, attended elementary school in Utopia, a mile away, and graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School. She is preceded in death by her husband, Maynard Oliver Lewis, brothers Earl, Maurice, Karl and Bud Atterberry; sister Elsie Johnson; and survived by her three sisters, Lois Cole, Muriel Huggins, Helen Healy; three daughters, Judith, Virginia, and Cheryl; seven grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.
      Ruth was one of seven children, but blessed through tragedy to have two cousins, Muriel and Helen, join the family at a very young age. Ruth was nicknamed "Johnnie" because she wanted to work outside with her dad, brothers, and tend to the animals. She loved to play baseball and soccer on the boy's teams and work on the ranch with her brothers, besides helping her mother bake and prepare meals. Ruth often shared stories of her lovely memories of boisterous conversations when her parents, grandparents, and siblings as they gathered at their big dinner table three meals a day for discussions, stories, and laughter. The Dickinson family later owned the farm for about four decades. Ruth loved school and attended Skagit Valley Business School following high school.
      Ruth married Maynard Lewis April 29, 1938 at the Anacortes Assembly of God Church. They made their home in Anacortes and have lived there nearly all of her years. She owned and operated Ruth's Home Catering out of their home at 1509 17th street and baked hundreds of wedding, anniversary, and birthday cakes and catered many special occasions in their home, gardens, as well as other's homes, businesses, and churches in the Skagit, Whatcom, Island, Snohomish, and King Counties. Ruth's favorite pastimes included china painting, and gardening, but she especially loved collecting antiques and sharing them with guests in her home. She believed in living a healthy lifestyle and worked in a health food store in Mount Vernon for several years.
      At one time, Ruth and Maynard managed the Snowline Inn, near Mt Baker, where she enjoyed feeding the many humming birds and could even get them to eat out of her hand. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and told many stories of growing up in Skagit County during the Great Depression. She loved to support her seven grandchildren in all their interests, but really had a knack for playing with them and teaching rhymes and games she loved from childhood. Following retirement Ruth and Maynard enjoyed the many friends they made while living at the Happy Wanderer Retirement Community in Indio, CA during the winter months. Ruth remained in their home on Vista Lane in Anacortes following Maynard's death until the past few years when she needed additional care. Her children have fond memories of large family meals where the guests would often grow in number during the meal, late night talks with relatives and girlfriends, discussions of deep held convictions in support of the rights of labor workers, the responsibility to sustain the environment and the fight against discrimination of any kind. Ruth was a proud member of the Democratic Party and would often take a car full of others to listen and support candidates of her choice.
      Ruth is survived by a sister, Lois Cole of Antelope, CA, sisters-in-law Cinde Atterberry and Elsa Atterberry of Anacortes; special sisters Muriel Huggins of Forks, and Helen Healy of Everett; daughter Judith Zersen of Bellingham and son-in-law Bill Zersen of Laguna Woods, CA; daughter Virginia Dinnocente of Anacortes and son-in-law Rich Dinnocente of El Segundo, CA; daughter and son-in-law Cheryl and Wayne Palmer of Anacortes; grandchildren Todd Zersen of Mount Vernon, Bridgetta and Douglas Malquist of Bellingham, Aaron Zersen of San Pedro, CA, Dina and Patrick Bayer of Yakima, Duane Dinnocente of El Segundo, CA, Darrell Palmer of Anacortes, Kalie and Adam Palmer of Eagle, CO; great grandchildren Benjamin and John Malquist, Matthew and Jordan Roughton-Palmer, and Montana Palmer.
      Ruth had close relationships to her many nieces and nephews who brought her a great deal of love and pleasure. She was proud of each and every one of them. Ruth's greatest gift was giving each and every person she encountered her full attention. She loved people. Her physical presence will be dearly missed, but all who knew her will carry on her legacy of human dignity, love for this country, and individual responsibility.
      Services are planned for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Anacortes Christian Church, at 1211 M Avenue, Anacortes, WA. More information is available at or calling 293-3311. If you would like to write about your memories of Ruth, please do so. The family would find great pleasure and comfort in reading your thoughts. Also, because mom decorated so many wedding cakes through her career, if you have pictures, please email them to or bring them to the service. We will have a copier available to copy and give back your original. Thank you.
      The family loves flowers, but if you prefer to give to a charity in Ruth's honor, please consider one of the following: [whose effort is to document stories and pictures of the Skagit river area]; Habitat for Humanity, or Skagit Land Trust, whose efforts preserve unique areas such as the Minkler Lake Property.
      "Almost all vestiges of the town of Minkler and the mill by the lake are long gone, except for the pilings for a trestle that you can still see rising from the lake as you drive by on Hwy. 20. Ruth Atterberry Lewis, who grew up with her family just a mile southwest in the Utopia district, remembers a very big store that they did all of their shopping at. She and her brothers and sisters loved playing in the water under the trestle of Minkler Lake for many hours at a time. She recalls that her family often walked to Lyman along the railroad tracks and she remembers that the Minkler Mill was on the left side of the track or north as they walked east to Lyman. The Minkler Store was on the right side of the tracks. The store was run by John Minkler and it had everything anybody living in that area would need, including food, clothing, kitchen stuff, furniture, fabric and tools. The trestle area that they played at was about 2 blocks from the store." Quote from "Birdsey Minkler, a Man Astride the Skagit River," in the Skagit River Journal.

Mrs. Elgie Lillpop, Sedro-Woolley
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, August 1954
      Mrs. Elgie Lillpop, resident of 524 Jameson, passed away at the Memorial hospital on August 10. She was born April 22, 1881, in Missouri and had lived here since 1901. Funeral services were held August 16 in the chapel at the Lemley mortuary with Rev. Carlos Shafer officiating and interment was in the Sedro-Woolley cemetery.
      Surviving Mrs. Lillpop are two daughters, Mrs. Yvonne Gilliam of Concord, Calif., and Mrs. Simonne Newman of Springfield, Oregon; one son, Sig Lillpop living at the family home; three brothers, Quin Jones, J.C. Jones and Wesley Jones, all living in California; two sisters, Mrs. Hershal Maulding of Venice, Calif., and Mrs. Marie Cooper , living in Calif.; also one grandson and one great grandson.

Mary [maiden Renfro] Lunden, Sedro-Woolley and Bellingham
Sedro-Woolley Courier-Times, sometime in March 1954
      Mary Renfro Lunden of 2510 40th street, Bellingham, a former Sedro-Woolley resident, passed away in a hospital in that city of a heart ailment Wednesday, March 16. Funeral services were held Monday at the Harlow-Hollingsworth chapel with cremation.
      Mrs. Lunden, 65, was born to William and Gussie Renfro at Warrensburg, Missouri, on Aug. 25, 1888. Her father was sheriff here in the early days [no record found of this in Sedro-Woolley, maybe in Missouri]. Mary Kathleen Renfro was united in marriage in Bellingham in 1907 to William Calman, who was killed in the World War in 1918. She married Ingvald Lunden in 1925.
      Mrs. Lunden is survived by her husband, Ingvald; two sons, David Calman of Sedro-Woolley and Robert (Joe) Calman, formerly of Sedro-Woolley, but now living in Seattle; four grandchildren and three great grandchildren; one sister, Mrs. Pearl Moore of Medford, Oregon, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Mrs. Lunden school in Sedro-Woolley during her childhood and was a niece of the late Butler and Agnes Pigg.

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