The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jesse Sines
For The Sentinel 

Local man marks one century

 

Jesse Sines, for The Sentinel

A HUNDRED YEARS AGO: Walter Goik and well-wishers celebrate his 100th birthday last Tuesday at Sodbusters Restaurant.

On March 4, Walter Goik became 100 years young. His birthday party was held at Sodbusters Restaurant in the evening and was attended by friends and family from each generation.

100 years ago, Goik was born in Germany. "I went to school 10,000 miles from here. I'm happy to be here, too!" Goik says with enthusiasm. Since having an innumerable amount of stories between Germany and Goldendale, he's had roots here for 30 years. He had served in the Merchant Marines for seven years and ended up sailing around South America prior to and during World War II and served in the United States Army for three years. When asked about moving to Goldendale 30 years ago, Goik simply replies, "I'm happy, I like a place like this. It's peaceful."

The party itself contained four tables lined up in the center of the dining area of Sodbusters and was full of well-wishes and stories of how each one attending knew Goik and how thankful they each are for knowing him.

Goik's niece, Jane Freer, visiting from Kent, took part in decorating for the party and even treated Goik to a dance while Dr. James Ogden played music. Being a teacher for many years, Freer asked some of her sixth and seventh grade students to send Goik 100 wishes for his birthday. That's not all-he was also planned to be the recipient of 100 birthday cards as well from people that he may not even know but who want to show their appreciation and admiration.

Freer exclaims, "Whatever he does, he has the heart for it, and he just wants to do things that are right. He's very trustworthy, and he's got that integrity."

One of the caregivers from Heart of Gold in Hood River, Thomas Keolker remembers, "I've known Walter for three or four years. He's probably the most grateful person I know." Keolker recalls asking Goik the prior year how old he felt, and he had replied "94."

"Well, Walter's 99th birthday was last year. We had to remind him he was 99," Keolker laughs, "So we knew that his birthday was coming around, keeping an eye on the calendar."

Early in the festivities, Ogden paid a visit with an accordion and offered the gift of music-with an accordion given to him by Goik. "He said this belonged to some of his relatives, and he couldn't play it and didn't want it anymore, so he gave it to me," explains Ogden. He also intends on bringing it to his upcoming mission to Honduras. "I'll have it to play at the orphanage or the church or wherever."

Goik is also known for his enthusiasm for model railroads and trains. He and friends Ed Weddel and others were able to put together a massive model railroad, which they called the Klickitat & Western Railroad. Though the technology involved with the model railroad club had become a little complicated for Goik, he still has his own train at his home, also known as Goik Forest.

After the birthday celebration and food by Sodbusters, as the party dispersed Goik had to share his encouragement as each departed, enforcing what each person attending had already claimed: "Always tell the truth, and you'll do good."

 

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