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Meet the Authors

Trudi Davis

  PATRICIA (PATTIE) HANSTAD PLEAS

PATRICIA (PATTIE) HANSTAD PLEAS

Pattie was born in Mount Vernon, Washington and soon after moved to Big Lake with her family. Swimming, fishing, hunting, ice-skating, sports, and horsemanship were childhood interests. 

While her children were young, Pattie was a homemaker. Her career later was in cash audit, bookkeeping and accounting.

She and her husband of fifty-six years have three children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Travel, writing, and studying law are Pattie's passions, while her hobbies include genealogy and local history. She is a lifetime member of the Big Lake Historical Society having joined the organization in 2009. Pattie was passionate about researching, interviewing, gathering information, and drafting the text for the Big Rock chapter and co-writing the Montborne chapter. 

  ANDREA MILLWARD XAVER

ANDREA MILLWARD XAVER

Andrea Elizabeth Millward Xaver is the fourth of six McInnis generations to own, operate, and appreciate organic farms and forests near Ehrlich. Andrea's family includes her daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Ken Stewart and their three children Levi, Carly, and Sophie.

Andrea was employed for thirty-two years by Washington State's Department of Natural Resources in Sedro-Woolley. She was a Wildfire Dispatcher, Administrative Assistant, and retired as Business and Operations Manager. Andrea is President of the McMurray Cemetery Association. She serves with Skagit County's Farmland Legacy Program and is a lifetime member of the Big Lake Historical Society.

Andrea enjoys family, friends, community, dancing, playing piano, painting, writing, history, genealogy, anthropology, theology, and geography. Andrea enthusiastically researched and authored the Early Times, Ehrlich, and Baker Heights chapters. 

  MELBA HOFFMAN HALL

MELBA HOFFMAN HALL

Melba Hoffman Hall was born July 3, 1938. She attended Big Lake School and graduated in 1956 from Sedro-Woolley High School. In 1959 she married Carlos Hall, they have two children and two grandchildren.

Melba worked for the Sedro-Woolley School District, first at Mary Purcell and 16 years at Big Lake Elementary, this was a rewarding time. Some of Melba's most cherished memories are working with children whether at school, Sunday School, or Vacation Bible School.

Big Lake was a wonderful place to grow up, swimming in the lake all summer long or spending time on her grandfather's farm gathering fruit in the orchard, exploring the barns and outbuildings, and hiking through the tall timber of the forest. 

Melba's memories and her mother, Josephine Barringer Hall, inspired her to collect and share Big Lake History. She is a charter member of the Big Lake Historical Society and is serving as its Treasurer and Historian. Melba willingly contributed her knowledge of the area by authoring the Big Lake and After the Mills chapters as well as co-authoring Changing Times.

  KENNETH HOFFMAN

KENNETH HOFFMAN

Kenneth Hoffman wrote the Walker Valley chapter, born in Mount Vernon, Washington on June 21st, 1938, his first home was on Lakeview Boulevard at Big Lake. He attended Clear Lake School in 1944-45 and then Big Lake School from 1946-1952 and graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School in 1956. Later he would attend Pima Community College.

Kenneth was active in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1955-1968 where he served aboard the USS Rombach and USS Gregory. In 1961, he traveled to Tucson, Arizona to visit family and met Gloria Ruiz who became his wife in 1962. In 1967 their daughter Yvette was born. He worked for the Sunnyside School District until 1973 when he was hired by the City of Tucson as Assistant Superintendent of Stores for 24 years.

Kenneth retired in 1996 and moved back to Big Lake on Garden Street across the street where he was raised. He served as President of the Big Lake Historical Society for its first four years and is a charter member. His mother's family, the Cantlin's, were early settlers in Walker Valley. 

  IDA UITTO JENSEN

IDA UITTO JENSEN

Ida Uitto Jensen was born in the Finn Settlement which is located in southeast Skagit County. She was the third in a line of what was to be four children born to John and Olga Uitto. Her grandparents were Victor and Otillia Uitto, early settlers in the Finn Settlement.

From the first through the eighth grades, Ida attended Big Lake School and went on to graduate from Sedro-Woolley High School. She married in 1955 and at that time moved from the Finn Settlement. She is a lifetime member of the Big Lake Historical Society and has served on the board in various elected positions. Ida, her sister, Julia Uitto Krieger, and Mary Granstrom Buzzell eagerly contributed photographs, research and text for the Finn Settlement chapter.

JULIA UITTO KRIEGER (Photo Missing)

Ida's sister, Julia, was also born and raised in the Finn Settlement. Her grandparents and parents all immigrated from Finland to southeast Skagit County where they homesteaded and farmed. She has many memories of time spent helping on her grandparent's farm. The youngest of four siblings Julia also attended grade school at Big Lake School and graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School. In her adult years she married, had a family and worked in local hospitals. Julia now volunteers her time at the hospital and Sedro-Woolley Senior Center. 

Julia is a lifetime member of the Big Lake Historical Society and in the past has been active on the board.

  MARY GRANSTROM BUZZELL

MARY GRANSTROM BUZZELL

Mary is the fourth generation of the Charles Granstrom family to reside in the Finn Settlement. After the death of her father, Mary and her family moved to Seattle and she graduated from Lincoln High School in 1956. 

She received her Certificate of Family History and Genealogy at the University of Washington. She qualified for the Washington State First Citizen certificate. She was a marketing statistician for Olympia Brewing Company and Operations Support Analyst for GTTE when she retired. She is a member of the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society and volunteers as librarian and genealogist. She is a lifetime member of the Big Lake Historical Society and co-contributor to the Finn Settlement chapter.

  JIM FARMER

JIM FARMER

Jim is a third generation Monborne native. His grandparents William and Osie Calkins met in Montborne in the 1890's, and married in 1901. Their four children were born and raised in the Montborne home they purchased the same year. Jim's mother Inez resided on that property until her death in 2003. Direct descendants still live in Montborne. Inez came of age during the heyday of the small mill town and shared her stories and collected pictures with anyone who was interested. Jim has maintained the collection of photographs and stories and shared them in the Montborne chapter. Jim is a lifetime member of the Big Lake Historical Society and serves as Vice President on the board.

  TRUDI YARCHO DAVIS

TRUDI YARCHO DAVIS

Trudi’s family moved to Big Lake in 1952. She attended Big Lake School, graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School and Western Washington University and later completed her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from City University. As a middle school Social Studies teacher in Kelso, Washington, she recognized the importance of local history and connecting disenfranchised students to their community. She created a local history unit that integrated the core subjects as well as a service learning project restoring and maintaining a local historical cemetery in cooperation with the City of Kelso and the Cowlitz County Historical Society. After retiring, she and her husband returned to the Big Lake area and she became active in the BLHS, serving as President and editor of the newsletter and website. Trudi was responsible for co-editing and following the publisher's guidelines for the text in the Images of America--Big Lake Valley

 CHRISTINE FARROW

CHRISTINE FARROW

Chris is a native of Michigan, via Los Angeles where she and her husband, David worked in the television commercial industry for 30 years. The Puget Sound region was a magnet that drew them to choose the Big Lake area as their paradise in retirement.  David’s skill as a pilot and Chris’s passion for photography have added to the historical society’s collection of contemporary photos of the area. An active member of the BLHS, Chris is serving as Secretary Pro-temp for the board and is their official photographer. She was responsible for judiciously selecting and scanning the Society’s historical photographs for the book to the specifications required by the publisher; together with Trudi, she also co-edited the text.