Pioneer reunion honors history, looks ahead
August 27, 2008 · Updated 5:32 PM
ARLINGTON Things have changed since the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneers first started meeting in Arlington.
Years ago, they started these meetings off early, after everyone had milked their cows, said Dick Prouty, outgoing president of the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association, at their 95th annual reunion in the Pioneer Hall Aug. 19. Then, theyd go out in the afternoon to milk again and come back later to dance. Anyone want to do it that way? he asked, inspiring laughter among the attendees.
After the potluck lunch with lots of dessert, the Pioneers honored the oldest native-born man and woman, 95-year-old Orv Forbes and 94-year-old Helen Starr, as well as the native-born couple married the longest, Sylvia and J.Y. Dyc Dycus, who got married April 18, 1944.
Starr stayed in Arlington, where she clerked as a civilian for the U.S. Navy for 20 years, while Forbes lives in Bothell and has worked as a boilermaker as far away as California, Wyoming and Alaska.
Starr has two children, while Forbes has four children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
The airport has gone through a lot of changes, Starr said. I feel like I dont know anybody anymore.
But everybody knows you, Prouty said.
The freeway took away our driveway, said Orv Forbes daughter Linda. People used to knock on our door, asking how to get on the freeway.
Starr attributed her longevity to keeping her mind and body active, by walking and reading daily, although she admitted that she prefers romantic and historic novels. Prouty noted that she still plays the piano and types 60 words a minute, but she countered his assertion that shes a computer whiz, arguing instead that she only knows how to type on a computer.
Orv Forbes credited his long life to good whiskey, while his daughter Linda said, I think its because of his kids. While Starr plays games like rummy cube, Orv does crossword puzzles every day, in ink, and pores through the newspaper and Readers Digest.
He beats me at Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune all the time, Linda Forbes said. He got called for jury duty last week, but couldnt go because he doesnt hear so well.
Sylvia and J.Y. Dyc Dycus recall meeting at a local roller rink, shortly before they decided to get hitched.
I knew right away that I was going to spend my life with him, Sylvia said.
She chased me, Dyc said. She caught me pretty quick, too.
Their marriage endured separations early on, as he served in the Navy and she worked for Boeing during World War II.
It takes a lot of patience, said Sylvia, when asked how theyd made their marriage last.
She married a hell of a nice guy, Dyc laughed.
Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson updated the Pioneers on changes in the city over the course of the past year, including the opening of the Linda M. Byrnes Performing Arts Center and the progress of the North Olympic Avenue Reconstruction Project, before reiterating her commitments to the transfer of development rights program and planning for coming urban growth.
We cant stop the growth, but we can do it with class, Larson said. An organization like this is essential within our community, to ensure that our roots are honored.
Prouty summarized improvements and additions that have been made to the Pioneers facilities, from the totem pole to the benches by the Boy Scouts, before thanking those who have contributed financially to their carved topographic sign, including Erma Morton, the city of Arlington, the Bryant Grange and the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians.
The Pioneers membership dues were raised from $5 to $10 by a unanimous vote, before the Pioneer Associations new officers were elected. Myrtle Rausch replaced Prouty as president, while Vice President Bill Senica, Secretary Bettie Van Austal, Pioneer Treasurer Janise Kazen and Museum Treasurer Doris Senica retained their posts.