Senior center honors Ruth and Harry Yost
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:51 PM
ARLINGTON Ruth and Harry Yost will be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Stillaguamish Senior Centers annual fund-
raising breakfast Sept. 19.
Because of their involvement with the Pioneer Museum, one of the authors of Snohomish County: An Illustrated History, Larry ODonnell, will be featured speaker at the event, said the senior centers president, Dave Duskin.
Ruth and Harry are the third and fourth recipients of the award, which was launched two years ago when Howard Christianson received the first award. The second award was presented to Don Meier just three months ago, before he died in August this year.
Ruth and Harry are a perfect match for this program because of all their service to this community, said the centers executive director, Jo Olson.
There was never a question that to recognize one was to recognize them both, Duskin said about Ruth and Harry. Because for the 62 years of their marriage they have been working as a team.
Born Ruth Wangsmo to Paul and Anna Wangsmo in the family home on Cemetery Road, Ruth met Harry when they both attended the old Lincoln School which was located northeast of the Food Pavilion Thrifty Foods grocery. Harry was born to Joseph and Carolina Yost on Jordon Road. Both are graduates of Arlington High School Harry in 1941 and Ruth in 1942.
In high school Ruth was a cheerleader and ASB treasurer. Harry played football and was the ASB business manager. Harry was recognized by the faculty at graduation with the Stanley Boyer Award as outstanding senior boy. He started driving a school bus when he was a junior in high school.
In May of 1942, Harry enlisted in the U.S. Navy. While, serving in the South Pacific, his unit had orders to go to Guadalcanal, but when the Japanese took control there, his unit landed in the New Hebrides Islands instead, and carved three air strips out of the jungle. The bases were closest to Guadalcanal and the Allies were able to mount large air attacks against Guadalcanal and destroy the dangerous Japanese air base under construction there. Harry spent two years at a jungle base as an aviation machinist.
Back home Ruth was doing what she could do to support the war effort, by helping staff a lookout on top of the high school. After Harry returned to the states and was posted to the Naval Air Station in Arlington they married in 1945.
The Yosts have three children: Marvin, Carol and Merlin and numerous grandchildren. While their children were growing up they were active parent volunteers. Each of them coached youth sports, each were Scout and Camp Fire leaders, and both served in various rolls in the P.T.A.
Both worked for the Arlington School District, but not at the same time. Ruth worked at the U.S. Post Office and the town bakery for a time but when she retired she was a secretary for an elementary school principal. Harry did maintenance for the district for seven years before going to work at a local lumberyard. In 1971 Harry started his own business doing what he had done for the lumberyard, installing floor coverings and countertops.
Whenever a civic activity needed volunteers, Ruth and Harry have always been there to help. They had their hands in every major community float, be it for the Chamber of Commerce, the Boy Scouts, Frontier Days or the American Legion. A couple of the award-winning floats traveled each year to some 18 different community parades throughout western Washington and Harry kept the floats in running order with Ruth managing the crew.
Harry served as Santa for the Arlington Chamber of Commerce for five years with Ruth standing in as Mrs. Claus. When a mobile Santa House was proposed, Harry built it. When volunteers were needed to organize celebrations for our states centennial in 1989 and Arlingtons centennial in 2003, Ruth was there to help.
After retiring, the Yosts became very active with the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association. The association had a dream of building a museum to house the many artifacts that were being donated and during Harrys term as president, plans were drawn for the new building. The volunteers sought money, materials and manpower, raising funds for the project through garage sales and timber sales. Harry also spearheaded the effort to clean up the old pioneer cemetery across the street from his house.
When it came time to build the new museum building, Harry resigned from his position as president so that he could devote his time to construction. A contractor was hired to supervise one paid employee and several volunteers, including Harry. While the building was being constructed, volunteers, including Ruth, were busy cataloging the many artifacts to go into the museum. The 18,000 square foot museum building was completed in 1997 and large sheds have since been added to house antique farming and logging equipment.
Harry and Ruth have also taken leadership roles at Our Saviors Lutheran Church. Ruth served as an advisor for the youth group, and treasurer for both the Sunday school program and the church council. Harry has been on the church council and has served as its chairman.
Joking that he has been on his knees in every church in town, Harry has donated his time to lay floor coverings in many churches around town. And he donated his time for five years serving on the juvenile diversion court panel.
The Yosts good works have not gone unnoticed in their community of Arlington, Duskin said. They were chosen to be the grand marshals of the Frontier Days Parade in 1983. In 1988 the Rotary Club recognized Harry and Ruth with a community service award. The Chamber of Commerce bestowed the honor of Citizens of the Year to Ruth and Harry in 1996. Mayor Bob Kraski and the City Council recognized the Yosts as One of a Kind Citizens in 2001 and the Rotary Club of Arlington again recognized Harry in 2006 by making him a Paul Harris Fellow.
The Stillaguamish Senior Center is proud to add its name to those organizations who recognize the contributions of Ruth and Harry Yost with its Life Time Achievement Award, Duskin said.
The fund-raising breakfast on Sept. 19 features 30 tables with table captains in charge of bringing guests who will support the efforts of the senior center, explained Olson.
This community has always shown great support to the senior center, Olson said. The first fundraising breakfast raised about $23,000.
Anyone who wants to attend and help honor the Yosts should call Dave Duskin at 360-435-5201 or Dale Duskin at 360-435-4409 or contact the Stillaguamish Senior Center at 360-653-4551.