Olga Rogneby turns 100
August 28, 2008 · Updated 4:59 PM
ARLINGTON A child of the Stillaguamish Valley, Olga Hamilton Hoidal Rogneby turns 100 Thursday, May 29.
Olga was born in Ferndale in 1908 to Olaf and Gina Hamilton, both natives of Norway. Her parents met in Stanwood where her mother was working with the John Wagness family. Olga's father's family had a homestead in the Jordan area near Granite Falls where her grandfather is buried.
When Olga was "very little," her folks bought a large farm in the Cicero area and moved back to the Stilly Valley from Ferndale.
"We had to use a canoe to get across the river to the farm," said Rogneby, who now lives in Lake Forest Park.
After a couple of years of paddling across the river to go to Cicero School, the county built a foot bridge for her and her brother, Hjalmer, to get to school, which was about two miles away, she said. Periodically, the flooding river would carry away the bridge.
Her first-grade teacher was Celia Ashmun, who taught grades one through four, and Celia's sister Bessie taught the four upper grades.
"The teachers would fire up the old wood heater to keep us warm and sometimes a very nice neighbor would bring hot soup for the kids at school," Olga said.
Neighbors included the Cavanaugh family, Swanson family, the Chichester family and Hiram Monty, had four sons, George, Glen, Guy and Pete. Hiram let them build a garage on his property to store the Chevrolet her parents bought in 1923.
After finishing eighth-grade, they took a school bus to high school in Arlington. Her father took the milk from their cows in a canoe to a milkstand where a truck would pick it up and take to the condensery.
Olga's father died in 1923 and two years later her mother sold the farm in Cicero and moved to another farm in Arlington.
"Later she sold that farm too, because it was too much for a woman to handle," Olga said.
After high school Olga married Karl Hoidal and they had five children, Karl Jr., Richard, Kennard, Marie and Carolyn.
"All of my children except Carolyn were born in Arlington," she said.
Carolyn was born in Seattle in 1940.
Karl died in 1955 and Olga went to work for a catering service in Seattle.
After a few years she married a family friend, Archie Baddeley, and they traveled together to Norway, England and Germany. After 13 years of marriage, he passed away.
"He died from being gassed in the war," Olga said.
Olga's daughter Marie died a few years ago during heart surgery.
Olga was alone for a few years before marrying another "very nice" man who was retired from immigration service in San Francisco who she met through friends. They enjoyed traveling together and now live in an apartment with her daughter Carolyn and her family.
The centenarian has learned to use e-mail and enjoys writing letters to some last remaining old friends and new ones, getting help when needed from her granddaughter.
"We need quite a bit of help, but everyone is so kind to us. I have 10 grandchildren and many great- and great-great- grandchildren. We love them so much. I thank God for letting me live so long and enjoy my family."