Titanic connection leads North Carolina family to Issaquah

June 12, 2012

Ruth Becker

The tang of saltwater drifted on the cold, midnight air. So, too, did frantic calls for help from hundreds of people.

Titanic — a superlative achievement in engineering, grand and unsinkable — struck a history-altering iceberg minutes earlier.

Ruth Becker, roused to the deck after the collision, headed below for blankets to protect against the chill. By the time the 12-year-old girl returned moments later, blankets in hand, she needed to act fast to board a lifeboat as the ocean liner sank into the North Atlantic.

Becker’s cousin, Jill Carrizales, remembers hearing the account as a child. The tale sparked a lifelong interest in the tragedy. Now, Carrizales and her daughter Jennifer Ramsey plan to travel from Gastonia, N.C., to Issaquah to attend a June 16 event dedicated to the Titanic disaster.

In order to commemorate 100 years since the tragedy, the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah plans to host pre-eminent Titanic historian Don Lynch at a June 16 discussion.

The trip to Issaquah represents a milestone in Carrizales’ yearslong quest to meet Lynch. The historian interviewed Becker, then Ruth Becker Blanchard, before she died in 1990 at age 90.

Carrizales praised Lynch for coaxing Ruth Becker to open up about the disaster.

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Secrets lie at the heart of the Porters’ 50-year marriage

May 29, 2012

Beverly and Jack Porter in 2011

Keeping secrets is part of what has kept Jack and Beverly Porter together for 50 years.

During the Sammamish couple’s half-century marriage, Jack spent 12 years as a contractor for the CIA. The pair faced the challenge of keeping Jack’s career identity secret from their five children and friends. In those 12 years, no one knew except for Beverly. The couple explained that sharing the secret made them stronger.

“We were in it together,” Beverly said.

The Porters are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Looking back, they attribute the longevity of their relationship to their children, their faith and a pair of other important factors.

“There are two ingredients,” Jack said about his martial success, “patience and a sense of humor.”

The couple met in October 1961. Jack, then a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin, was working as a sales representative for the American Can Co. He was transferred to Seattle, where he met Beverly, a North Dakota native who had recently moved to the Lake Hills area of Bellevue with her family.

One year later, on June 2, 1962, the couple was married at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Bellevue.

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Kiwanis Club of Issaquah hosts Titanic expert

May 15, 2012

Don Lynch, a historian considered among the foremost Titanic experts on the planet, descended to the wreck in August and September 2001. The noted author is due in Issaquah next month to discuss the Titanic for a Kiwanis Club of Issaquah fundraiser.

The event is June 16 at the First Stage Theatre, 120 Front St. N. Call 392-3598 or 392-4016, or go to www.issaquah.kiwanis.org.

The ticket pricing is arranged similar to the passenger classes on the Titanic — $55 for first class, $40 for second class and $25 for steerage. The first-class “passengers” can attend a meet-and-greet session with Lynch, receive a complimentary glass of wine or beer, and take home a souvenir from the event.

Lynch also served as a consultant on director James Cameron’s 1997 film about the doomed ocean liner.

April 15 marked 100 years since the Titanic tragedy unfolded about 400 miles from Newfoundland.

Even a century after the Titanic departed the surface, the disaster — 1,514 passengers and crewmembers perished in the sinking — continues to capture imaginations. Only about 700 people survived the catastrophe.

Kiwanis Club of Issaquah hosts Titanic expert to commemorate tragedy’s 100th anniversary

April 10, 2012

Don Lynch, author of ‘Titanic: An Illustrated History,’ stands on the Grand Staircase set for the 1997 film ‘Titanic.’ Contributed

In the icy deep, more than 12,500 feet beneath the surface, a steel wall emerges, alien and foreboding, from the North Atlantic seabed.

Don Lynch peers through a porthole in a small submersible, as bulbous as a whale and built to endure the extreme cold and intense pressure at such depths. The other occupants in the craft include filmmaker James Cameron.

“We pulled up to the side of it and Jim was like, ‘There’s the Titanic for you,’” Lynch recalled in a recent interview. “In the movies, you always come up to the bow and the prow’s sticking up and rising above you, but it was just this flat wall out in front of us.”

Lynch, a historian considered among the foremost Titanic experts on the planet, descended to the wreck in August and September 2001. The noted author also served as a consultant on Cameron’s 1997 film about the doomed ocean liner.

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Off the Press

April 10, 2012

Warren Kagarise Press reporter

A century after disaster, Titanic still captivates

Long before “Titanic” the film — and long before every member of my generation and I thronged to the multiplex for repeated screenings — at age 6, I discovered a book in my school library about the disaster.

Captivated, I sought out everything I could about the doomed ocean liner — a morbid fascination for a first-grader, for sure. Other disasters piqued my interest — Hindenburg, Lusitania, et al — but only the Titanic remained a full-blown obsession.

I leafed through oceanographer Robert Ballard’s “The Discovery of the Titanic” so often the spine started to disintegrate. I used more care to handle the National Geographic issue about the discovery — December 1985, pilfered from my grandparents’ meticulously curated collection.

In Don Lynch, a pre-eminent Titanic historian based in Los Angeles, I found a kindred spirit.

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Nominate outstanding citizens for Kiwanis Club awards

April 3, 2012

Kiwanis Club of Issaquah members are seeking exceptional people to honor in the annual Community Awards.

The service club sponsors the Volunteer of the Year Award, Environmental Award and Spiritual Values Award.

Nominate candidates for the award by emailing a one- or two-page nomination letter — indicating the person under nomination and for which award — to president@issaquahkiwanis.org or via mail to Kiwanis Club of Issaquah, P.O. Box 1111, Issaquah, WA 98027. The nomination deadline is April 15.

The volunteer award honors a frequent volunteer in the Issaquah area for contributing a large number of hours over a significant period of time and achieving outstanding results to better the community.

In the environmental category, a winner is recognized for responsible stewardship of the natural environment to create benefits for the environment and the community.

The values honor spotlights the winner for significantly enhancing the human and spiritual values in the Issaquah area.

The organization plans to announce the awards at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce’s Community Awards Luncheon in May.

Kiwanis Young Professionals offer PC clinic

February 28, 2012

Run down? Fighting a virus? Are things taking longer to process? If your computer’s maladies seem to outnumber yours even during cold and flu season, the Issaquah Kiwanis Young Professionals Club offers a PC Clinic on March 4 at Gibson Hall, 105 Newport Way S.W.

Computers can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to noon and picked up between noon and 2 p.m.

The Kiwanis Young Professionals will run hardware diagnostics, scrub computers of viruses and spyware, do performance fine- tuning, and offer advice and tips. All services are free, but donations will be gladly accepted to support Kiwanis’ local community service.

Community members need only bring their computer and power cord. The Young Professionals will have monitors, keyboards, mice and peripherals to plug in and do testing.

If you believe your computer is beyond help, the Kiwanis also will offer free recycling for old computers, laptops and monitors. They will not accept keyboards, mice, copiers, scanners or printers.

Last chance to contribute to Kiwanis club coat drive

November 29, 2011

The Kiwanis Club of Issaquah is holding a coat and shoe drive throughout November.

The drive runs from Nov. 1-30 and donations benefit the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Coats and shoes — in adult’s and children’s sizes — should be clean, and new or gently used.

Donation sites include The Issaquah Press, 45 Front St. S.; the Issaquah Gilman branch of KeyBank, 405 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite A; and AtWork! Issaquah Operations, 690 N.W. Juniper St.

Kiwanis Club of Issaquah hosts coat, shoe drive

November 22, 2011

The Kiwanis Club of Issaquah is holding a coat and shoe drive throughout November.

The drive runs through Nov. 30 and donations benefit the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Coats and shoes — in adult’s and children’s sizes — should be clean, and new or gently used.

Donation sites include The Issaquah Press, 45 Front St. S.; the Issaquah Gilman branch of KeyBank, 405 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite A; and AtWork! Issaquah Operations, 690 N.W. Juniper St.

Kiwanis Club of Issaquah hosts coat, shoe drive

November 15, 2011

The Kiwanis Club of Issaquah is holding a coat and shoe drive throughout November.

The drive runs through Nov. 30 and donations benefit the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Coats and shoes — in adult’s and children’s sizes — should be clean, and new or gently used.

Donation sites include The Issaquah Press, 45 Front St. S.; the Issaquah Gilman branch of KeyBank, 405 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite A; and AtWork! Issaquah Operations, 690 N.W. Juniper St.

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