March 5, 2013
Newcastle resident Italene Gaddis may be 87 years old, but if you ask her, she doesn’t feel any older than she did as a child growing up in the South.
“You’re not a number,” she said. “People say ‘Are you really 87?’ and I say ‘No, not really, I’m Italene.’”
With her charming Southern drawl, the poet, musician and songwriter captivates with her quick wit and sunny disposition. She’s an endless source of encouraging words, uplifting songs and positive affirmations.
February 14, 2012
At least in front of a reporter, Violet Eck didn’t have much to say on the occasion of her 100th birthday.
Eck celebrated the day with family Feb. 7 at the Spiritwood at Pine Lake retirement community in Issaquah. She was born in 1912 in Spokane, though she has lived in this area for a number of years.
Asked if she had anything to say to a reporter, Eck had a quick comeback that drew big laughs from family members.
“No,” Eck said, “I don’t tell those things.”
Nevertheless, her oldest, Steven Ek, told his mom’s story nicely.
While still in high school, Eck was offered a debate scholarship to Washington State University. But the Great Depression interrupted her college plans at least for a while. There simply was no money, Ek said, to pay for his mother’s living expenses had she gone to school.
By the way, you might have noticed the elder Eck and her sons spell their names differently. There are at least two stories as to why Violet Eck added an extra consonant to her last name.
August 23, 2011
Asked how it feels to be 100 years old, Issaquah’s Paul Emile Beaudry doesn’t answer right away.
“He always says, ‘It beats the alternative,’” said son Richard Beaudry, a retired attorney and in his 70s himself.
At that, Paul grins.
“I don’t feel any different,” he said, sitting in the community dining room of the Spiritwood Assisted Living facility, where he passed the century mark Aug. 15.
“I’ve come a long way, but I feel the same,” Paul added.
As his son tells the story, Paul was born on the kitchen table of the family home on 51st Street and Woodlawn Avenue North in Seattle. The third child of Frank and Blanche Beaudry, he and his brother and sister all went to Lincoln High School.
It was there that Paul met Doris, the woman who would become his wife of 60 years. During their early courtship, they had only one problem and that was that a home phone didn’t really fit into the Beaudry family budget.
Or maybe it wasn’t really a problem after all.
June 29, 2010
On Dec. 3, 1941, Gerald Treacy Sr. was called away from Hickam Field, adjacent to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to attend his father’s funeral.
Four days later, he was in New Jersey when the Japanese attacked. At Hickam alone, 121 men were killed, and 274 were wounded.
“I would’a been right there,” Treacy said.
When he got back from the short furlough, they were still putting out fires and dealing with the aftermath, he said.
“The way he described it was just chaos,” said Treacy’s son, Gerald Treacy Jr.
Father and son returned to Pearl Harbor June 1-6 to celebrate the elder Treacy’s 92nd birthday and visit the memorial and other sites he experienced during the war. It was his first time back since 1942.
The longtime Sammamish resident saw close friends and fellow service members killed in World War II. He openly talks about his war experience, but tends to remember the humorous and lighthearted aspects of his time as a navigator in the 13th Army Air Corps.
The elder Treacy fondly recounts his time with the nine- to 10-member B-24 flight crew and the things they did to lighten the mood while flying spy missions in the Pacific region. Like when the radioman didn’t strap on a parachute, telling Treacy he would simply hang onto him if they had to evacuate. Or the time Treacy nearly fell out of the bomb bay, but a reconnaissance camera’s power cable saved him.
“I remember the good memories,” Treacy said from his home at Spiritwood at Pine Lake.
Treacy, who was a sergeant, served from 1941-1946 and spent the first two years stationed at Hickam Field at Pearl Harbor.
“He was happy, but sad. Very somber,” the younger Treacy said of seeing his father relive the good and bad memories. “It was overwhelming for him to see it again.”
During his five years in the Army Air Corps, the elder Treacy served in Hawaii, New Guinea, the Philippines and Guam, he said. He nearly became a prisoner of war in the Philippines when a rebel soldier accosted him at bayonet-point one night. The elder Treacy said he made a joke with the soldier and walked away, knowing a gunshot would give away the rebels’ position. Read more
April 13, 2010
Seniors are invited to attend a fundraiser at 10 a.m. April 22 for Rwanda Partners.
The event will be at Spiritwood at Pine Lake, 3607 228th Ave. S.E., and will feature a film, “Wounded Healers,” about the work that is bringing new life to the country of Rwanda.
You can also meet Tracy Stone, executive director of Rwanda Partners, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping with the country’s healing and restoration after the genocide of 1994.
This is an opportunity to learn first hand from Stone about the work of reconciliation and poverty reduction that is making a difference in the recovery of Rwanda.
“We should care because these are global neighbors in need and even small efforts on our part can make a significant difference in Rwanda,” Ann L. Thomas, program manager for Spiritwood Assisted Living & Memory Care, wrote in an e-mail. “Equally important is what we can learn from courageous Rwandans about forgiveness and reconciliation, overcoming fear and learning to live in peace.”
Refreshments will follow the 39-minute film. Although no collection will be taken, attendees can enter a raffle for a basket by Rwanda Basket Co. weavers.
A large selection of beautiful, handmade Rwandan baskets will also be available for sale, providing support for Rwandan weavers and their families, Thomas said.
Learn more about how you can help by calling 206-838-8698 or going here.
March 2, 2010