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Katherine Eshelman


Katherine Eshelman

Katherine Olive Smyser Eshelman was born on March 3, 1915 to Selden and Katherine Peet Smyser in North Yakima, Washington, the youngest of four children. She passed away in Seattle on September 9, 2014 at the age of ninety-nine. When Katherine was still small, her father took a position on the faculty at Ellensburg Normal School (now Central Washington University) and she grew up in Ellensburg. Her schooling was at the Normal School's training school before entering Ellensburg High School. She graduated in 1931 at the age of sixteen and then enrolled in the college. She played violin in the college orchestra and there she caught the eye of a French horn player from Centerville, Wayne Eshelman. They were married in Ellensburg on August 4, 1934. In 2009 Katherine and Wayne celebrated their seventy-fifth wedding anniversary.

In 1937, Katherine and Wayne bought a farm in the Horseshoe Bend area and they farmed and raised Angus cattle for the next forty-two years, mostly near Centerville and in High Prairie. In 1979, they retired to Goldendale. Katherine was always active in the community, including PTA, Band Parents, 4-H, the Grange, Women's Republican Club and many others. She taught Sunday School and was the pianist for the Centerville Church of Christ for many years. During her years in High Prairie she enjoyed being the High Prairie correspondent for The Sentinel. After she and Wayne moved to Goldendale, she joined a writer's group and began writing poetry again after a lapse of several years. In later years she would recall with amused pride that The Washington Farmer had paid her fifty cents when it published one of her poems in the 1940s.

In 2005, Katherine and Wayne moved to the Seattle area to be near family members. While she didn't regret the move, she always missed her friends in Klickitat County, so much so that, at the age of ninety-seven, she held a reception at the Goldendale Grange Hall to see them. Wayne preceded her in death in 2010.

Katherine is survived by three children: Mary Deaville of Hood River, OR; John (Susan) of Seattle; and Martha Smith of Seattle. Her oldest son, Wayne, preceded her in death. Other survivors include her four grandchildren: Carl Eshelman (Kim) of Maple Valley; Richard Smith (Veronica) of Bellevue; Nonnie Laughlin (Kirk) of Seattle and Denise Hazard of Puerto Rico; foster-grandson Ben Johnson of Spokane; and seven great-grandsons.

A graveside service will be held at the Centerville Cemetery on Saturday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m. with Katherine's granddaughter-in-law, the Reverend Veronica Smith, presiding. A reception will follow at the Centerville Grange Hall. Memorials may be given to the Klickitat County Historical Society, one of Katherine's favorite organizations.


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