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Roth and Heiderers named Arlington Masons' Citizens of the Year
ARLINGTON — A trio of Arlington citizens who have devoted themselves to helping the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society grow over the years were recently named this year's recipients of the Howard Christensen Citizen of the Year Award from Arlington Lodge 129 of the Free and Accepted Masons.
On Thursday, May 17, Marietta Roth and Michele and Steve Heiderer joined the host of other Arlington citizens to be honored with the award since Christensen created it in 1998 to recognize outstanding service to the community.
"A move to a more permanent location has enabled the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society to add additional library services, as well as access to the Internet and popular genealogy sites," Shirley Prouty said. "Interested citizens can take their laptops to the society's new 215 S. French Ave. address and conduct research projects on Wi-Fi with the aid of trained librarians. Planned historical programs presented by society members have also given citizens a new perspective on their local history."
Roth's passion for tracing her own family history led her 4-H Club to clean cemeteries, but the need to connect with citizens who shared her interests inspired her to start up the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society in 1985, 27 years ago. That same year, the Heiderers moved to Arlington from California with their daughter Marlene, and Michele also brought with her 10 years of experience in indexing documents, gained through the mortgage lending industry.
"The society's library has since grown to more than 5,000 books and documents for historic research," said Prouty, who noted that Michele Heiderer has not only become an experienced grant writer for the society, but also became certified in 1991 to help adult adoptees find their birth family relatives. "Michele has trained society members as librarians and on how to locate family histories worldwide, providing a great service to our community."
Michele Heiderer also developed three reference books compiling the records of early pioneer families through the 1910 census of Snohomish County, and gathered contour map data to pass on to carver Bruce Morrison, which he used to create a carved topographic map of the Stillaguamish Valley.
As for Steve Heiderer, he applied the architectural skills he'd honed in designing apartments and commercial buildings in San Diego to the task of developing a structure to cover the "Welcome" center at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum. The final structure incorporated story poles crafted by Native American carver Jewell James, to convey the spirit of the Pacific Northwest.
In addition to the Citizen of the Year Awards, the Arlington Masonic Lodge also presented a check for $100 to the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society that evening.