The longest-living Snohomish High Panthers today
SNOHOMISH — Many were farm kids, some were city kids.
As youngsters, many attended independent schoolhouses in the areas of Fobes, Swans Trail, Shorts, Machias, you name it: little local districts that hadn't consolidated into Snohomish's school district until 1957.
They converged at Snohomish High, the community's only high school, into nearly brand new buildings at the Avenue D campus — the all-brick replacement buildings only became open in fall 1939, after all.
After-school, the social spots included Snohomish Drug at 1116 First Street, run by the Gilbertsons, with its ice creams and milkshakes, and the bowling alley in the upper half of the building standing on the northwest corner of First and Avenue B. There was always dancing.
Some swear that Snohomish winters were colder then, and a few ice-skated on Blackman Lake.
Walking was how people got around.
Approximately 799 Panthers earned diplomas in the classes of 1940 through 1947; many others left early to help their families or especially to serve in the military during World War II.
The Tribune began in January seeking our oldest living Snohomish High Panthers. Of those we knew about that we could reach, here are their stories:
• June Olson (Schott), age 100
Right before the world rang in 2023, June Olson, SHS 1940, celebrated her upcoming 100th with a big birthday party.
From the pioneering Schott family, Olson was born inside the Pioneer Market Building at 1118 First St., she said. She was born a twin and youngest of seven children. The family ran a prominent butcher shop.
"The town was just so simple in those days," Olson said. Everybody knew everybody. Families ran their shops, and "all the merchants in town were people who lived there."
She'd walk the nine blocks from her home on Avenue C to go down to the Legion Club and dance Saturday nights.
Still loving life, "you'd never know she's 100," niece Roxanne Cherry said.
June married Gil Olson, who worked at Harmon's Department Store in Snohomish before he headed into military service.
When he came back, they eventually made a home in Lacey, near Olympia, where she still resides. They opened a business doing store ordering and accounts, driving up and down the Interstate 5 corridor.
June and Gil Olson also were founding members of Faith Lutheran Church in Lacey.
June Olson may be blessed with good genes: June's mom lived to 103, Cherry said.
• Winnie Vaninetti, 99
Winnie Vaninetti, SHS 1941, worked in a police department far before it was customary for women to do so, and loved it.
She moved to Everett at age 19. In 1959 while raising two children, she joined the Everett Police Department as a clerk. She said she was the only one who applied for the job opening. At the time, she could count just two other female co-workers. She ran traffic and learned how to fingerprint.
“It was interesting,” she said, “I was always glad to go to work.”
So, she made it her career for 25 years, retiring in 1982. Almost all of this time was under Police Chief George Nelson, she said.
As far as crime, “we didn’t have much,” Vaninetti said. Everett was just 50,000 people.
She said she thought of becoming a commissioned police officer but ended up not. “I was just as happy not to,” Vaninetti said.
Growing up, she remembers how her family farm had 100 cows to milk. The family moved a few farms before landing at a spot along the flats of Ebey Slough along Homeacres Road.
Today, she still lives at her home in the Riverside Neighborhood and has every intention of celebrating her 100th birthday this summer.
• June Gregory, 99
“I really like Snohomish and I loved our school,” June Gregory, SHS 1942, said.
Gregory has always rallied her classmates of 1942 as the lead organizer of the Class of ‘42 annual reunion for 25 years. The only request was to bring your own sack lunch.
She went to Central Washington University where she met her husband. After raising their children, Gregory taught kindergarten through third grade in Bellevue Schools for 25 years.
“I enjoyed the kids because they’re more fun,” Gregory said.
It was when Bellevue was farmland.
They returned closer to Snohomish later in life.
The childhood house was on Mill Avenue.
Born as June Seymour, she walked to school every day. Gregory sang in high school choir and was on the drill march team that appeared in parades.
“This was a wonderful place to grow up,” Gregory said.
• Dr. Hugh Minor, 98
Dr. R. Hugh Minor, SHS 1942, graduated from Snohomish after coming up through Fobes School. He became one of the area’s better-known eye doctors.
After high school, he went on to be appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy, where one of his classmates was future President Jimmy Carter, a contemporary of his.
“After my service in the Navy, I completed one year of premed at the University Washington and then attended med school at the UW. I finished my schooling with an internship at Philadelphia General Hospital and my residency at the Mayo Clinic,” his son Deane Minor wrote from interviewing his dad.
Dr. Minor ran an ophthalmology clinic for decades in Everett until retiring in 1991.
He’s been married to Jackie for 71 years.
Hugh’s older brothers Dean and Don Minor also graduated Snohomish High. Their mother drove the Fobes-area school bus after Mr. Rodland retired, his son’s report said.
Dr. Minor was one of the pleasant guys to be around, said Frank Green, who’s a year younger at age 97.
• Pat Moser, 98
Born Patricia Kazen, Pat Moser’s family initially were dairy farmers in Snohomish and her dad was a preacher in Everett, daughter Shirley Mesman said. The family moved into town on Avenue L and she married Laurence Moser, a 1944 graduate. They’d met at Snohomish High and had a 60-year marriage in which they raised five children.
Last November, Glacier Peak students helped celebrate Moser’s 98th birthday. “The GP students treated Mom like absolute royalty,” Mesman said. “It was so special.”
Pat Moser retired from a career at Volunteers of America Western Washington, Mesman said.
Laurence Moser went into the military as a flight engineer and tail gunner, his obituary states.
• Bob Bisnett, 98
You can still find Bob Bisnett’s Master’s thesis in the University of Washington library comparing how well those who took driver’s ed perform on the road versus those who didn’t.
Of anyone, this Panther can tell you the correct way to drive. He taught biology and driver’s education in Walla Walla and then Shoreline for 30 years.
Right before he would have graduated in the class of 1942, Bisnett left for the Army in armored infantry. It looked like he would have been sent abroad to the North African campaign against the axis, he said, but instead the military assigned him to repair battle tanks
at Fort Knox.
He journals daily, so far filling 230 books, and he and wife Elinore wake up at 7 a.m. at their Shoreline home. He says half a Brazil nut a day in his diet gives the antioxidant nutrient selenium. Elinore was in charge of managing the polio epidemic early in her career at Providence Everett hospital.
Their three children all went to college. He retired in 1980 around age 55 and he and Elinore toured the world.
He also served on the King County Housing Authority Board for seven years. “I felt it was quite an honorable appointment,” Bisnett said.
He stopped driving just this year, but said he never had a ticket, and never had a collision.
Bisnett’s lineage was the White family that came to Snohomish in 1901. His dad was Homer White, who ran restaurants on First Street and was tied to Brown’s Theater.
• Frank Green, 97
Frank Green, 97, enlisted into the Navy at age 17 and found himself on carrier duty on the Yorktown.
“I wanted to strike a blow for Liberty,” Green said, and went in the last week of December 1943. His graduation would have been spring 1944.
Green has lived in Snohomish for most of his life. He said he grew up on Avenue B, near Tom Dobbs’ house.
Classmate Rip Krause, SHS 1944, said Green saw some action during the Pacific Theater. Green himself demurred: “Every war’s the same — it’s a whole lot of boredom and then a little bit of action,” he said.
When not in town, Green was at sea.
Post-war, Green had duties transporting goods by ship around the area. After discharge in 1946, he said he took full advantage of the GI Bill and did a variety of things, but wanted to get back to the sea. In the 1950s, he returned to do civil service work transporting troops, primarily to Korea.
Born in the Three Lakes area, Green set pins at the bowling alley for a gig. He remembers the best milkshake in town was found at The Kit Kat Kafe*, a spot he recalls was near the Brunswick Hotel on First Street west of Avenue C.
Green’s wife was in the class of 1949. They bought a home on Holly Vista Drive of northeast Snohomish when it was a new subdivision development.
“They said they’d fix (the road) in 1965,” Green said. Finally, in 2022, the city did, together with a new storm system and sewer repairs.
• Rip Krause, 96, and Carol Krause, 91
“Rip” Krause, SHS 1944, was a farmer’s son who saw World War II’s Pacific Theater up front and personal. He signed up to the Merchant Marines right after graduating Snohomish High.
In the war, he served in the engine room of a ship that shuttled aviation fuel, as well as serving on the destroyer Cummings that convoyed with battle groups at sea — “coffin corner” in the convoy, he said they called it. His time brought him to the battles in the Philippines and the Solomon Islands. After Japan surrendered in August 1945, in peacetime service Rip saw the aftermath destruction in Yokohama and in Tokyo.
Carol, 91, was almost starting high school when the war ended. She’s SHS class of ‘49.
Carol is from the pioneering Peter family that came to Snohomish in the 1890s.
She remembers how First Street was bricked, and how Mr. Hall’s horse stable close to the northwest corner of First and Avenue D borrowed out horses to ride for recreation.
They joined together when Rip got back to Snohomish.
“I had my eye on her,” Rip smiled inside their Fobes-area home with Carol seated in the next chair over.
Rip had a variety of jobs after returning to Snohomish.
Carol remembers the town had forest all around, and bowling at the lanes at Avenue B and First Street was a popular activity.
Rip briefly was the high school’s student body president, but he decided to get out of it. He also lettered in sports.
• Orva Anderson (Torseth), 95
Orva Anderson, SHS 1947, grew up on 20 acres by Meadow Lake, and milked the cows every morning before school. She’d walk a mile from home to catch the school bus, she said. Then, after returning home, she’d have chores to do from chopping wood to carrying water.
Anderson sounds like one tough cookie. She even sort of admits to it, joking that she was a fighter in school.
In Monroe as an adult, she and a past husband ran a
dry goods, ice cream and coffee shop downtown called OK Sundries for 17 years. It was a social go-to at 107 W. Main St. She drove a taxicab for four years, too.
“I knew everybody,” Anderson said.
While she grew up north of Monroe, she attended Snohomish High as did her older sisters. One of them, Louise Torseth, was Snohomish High’s salutatorian of 1942.
Anderson was a natural athlete who played girls’ basketball and baseball. Anderson was the one who kept girls’ teams together, Betty Morse Greenlee, also class of 1947, recounted.
She’s always been active. For Washington’s centennial in 1989, she and her husband Howard Anderson spent a month riding 400 miles, from Tekoa (south of Spokane) to Olympia. They’d go on long horse rides every year, Anderson said.
She’s lived inside Monroe since 1954. She told a reporter she was out mowing the lawn a couple of days before her 95th birthday.
She renewed her driver’s license a while ago to keep driving. It’s still good ‘til age 101.
• Rosemary Bailey, 95
Rosemary Bailey, SHS 1945, cheered as her great-granddaughter, a second grader at Machias Elementary, played basketball in its gym.
“Think about it — she’s in second grade and a girl, that’s progress,” Bailey said.
When she was a girl, the boys did most of the sports, she said.
Snohomish was “a fine little town to be from,” Bailey said. She worked at Snohomish Drug with the Gilbertsons in her early years.
“It was just a smaller community and most everything was on First Street,” Bailey said.
Even so, “It’s been an interesting time for the growth of Snohomish, but it’s not too big. I think it’s a nice town,” Bailey said.
Rosemary didn’t grow up as a farm girl, but is the matriarch of the Baileys of Bailey Family Farm on Springhetti Road. She married her high school sweetheart Cliff Bailey in 1946 and enjoyed 74 years of marriage. Cliff passed in 2021.
The farm is now in the fifth generation of the family. One of her granddaughters, Anne, was a college women’s basketball standout.
“Sports have changed, for women and girls,” Bailey said.
Rosemary’s sister-in-law, Ellen Bailey Snow, visits from Everett. Cliff graduated class of 1944; Ellen graduated class of 1942. The Tribune was unable to connect with Ellen after multiple tries.
• Linda Lingel (Salvadalena), 95 and younger brother Bob Salvadalena, 91
The Salvadalenas’ branches run far and wide across Snohomish County. Three brothers from the Italian Alps landed here and started homesteads and farms. Practically all Salvadalenas graduated from Snohomish High.
Linda Lingel, SHS 1946, remembers how World War II roused patriotism.
She said Snohomish had a watchtower on the hill of Terrace Avenue where high schoolers would sign up to watch the skies and identify aircraft in case of enemies.
“I can still hear Roosevelt’s voice on the radio that we’d been attacked and we are now in the war,” Lingel said.
For leisure, she loved to sing in choir and dance inside the Eagles Building (today’s Feather Ballroom, 801 First St.). One hot draw was The Schwarzmiller Band.
Lingel was also high school class president, according to her younger brother Robert Salvadalena.
“The town itself looks very much the same to me, but with more diverse shops,” Lingel said.
Her recommendation in longevity? “To believe in God, and put the Lord first,” she said.
Her younger brother Robert Salvadalena, class of 1950, called Snohomish High “probably the best school around.”
After graduating, he served in the Air Force working the power maintenance and electrical generation for a military radar post in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. “We could almost see Russia” from there, he said.
Back in Snohomish, he took plenty of jobs. He and Roy Gabriel constructed the King Charley’s Drive-In in 1964 off of Highway 9. Charles Bowen was “King Charley.”
One of his later jobs was for the Housing Authority of Snohomish County where he managed the reconstruction of Snohomish’s Soap Suds Row along Avenue B.
Their brother Dick Salvadalena owned the Salvadalena greenhouse nursery off of 88th Street.
Their family home was on Avenue J, and it was a dirt road that required oiling by the homeowners every year, Bob remembers. The oil kept the dust down, he said.
• Dick Rodland, 95
In Snohomish sports history, Dick Rodland, class of 1946, is held among its greats.
But also in high school, he started teaching Sunday school, a grounded part of his life for decades. After college, he had a 39-year career teaching health at the Snohomish Freshman Campus. He also jumped into coaching 7th, 8th and 9th grade basketball. He credits good players for their success.
“We didn’t lose very much,” Rodland said with a bit of a grin.
Rodland went to Fobes School for elementary. There, he met his grade school sweetheart Marjorie who lived on a nearby farm; they married in 1948.
His parents’ home off of South Lake Stevens Road doubled as Rodland’s Service Station and grocery. As a kid, he pumped gasoline by hand for customers. (The shop later was Turner’s Grocery.)
They had a huge family — Dick is the second youngest of nine. His nephew is Wayne Rodland of Rodland’s Automotive in Monroe.
Rodland emphasized teamwork and being a model citizen to his students. Through virtue and patience, he kept stress at bay.
“Dick Rodland was a great role model for us,” longtime teacher Gerry Salvadalena, 80, said. (Salvadalena, SHS 1961, coached ninth-grade basketball for 25 years and taught for 32 years.)
“Dad’s faith has always been a most important part of his life,” son Dave Rodland said.
In high school, he was a three-sport letterman, including part of Snohomish’s undefeated 1944 football team and part of the state all-star baseball team of 1945.
Rodland credits his longevity to not drinking or smoking, keeping physically active and that “my mom fed me right,” he said.
• Betty (Morse) Greenlee, 94
Betty Morse Greenlee, SHS 1947, “always wanted to be busy,” she said, and so that’s what she has been doing for 70 years.
Wanting spending money, she went up one side of First Street and down the other asking for a job. She was 12. Harmon’s Department Store, in the Marks Building, took her on. “I knew I wanted to be in retail” working with customers, she said.
Her dad was O. D. Morse, Snohomish’s well-liked police chief.
He planned for her to go to college, but, “I had so many plans that didn’t include school, and I couldn’t wait to get out,” Greenlee said. Her father had passed when she was 16.
She returned home to Snohomish decades later, and became director of the Snohomish Community Food Bank for a stint in the early 2000s.
“It was very rewarding,” she said, “I loved, loved, loved everyone we served.”
In the intervening years, married life took her to Pierce County working as a selection buyer for retailers. In 1957, she saw a York department store was floundering, and she arranged to buy the store, retitling it “Beth’s Styles” and running it for years.
Later, someone in her network sought someone to develop retail inside Sea-Tac Airport, so she did. She worked for more stores and added being a real estate agent in keeping a busy life.
In Seattle, Greenlee used her buyer’s expertise to assist her daughter’s effort to clothe needy schoolchildren.
Asked for her secrets to longevity, she said she never was a worrier, she never was a drinker, and only briefly was a smoker. But, being a positive person with plenty to do is what she called her secret. She said she’s produced 27 quilts in the past 18 months.
She now lives in Texas to be closer to one of her children.
In recent memoriam:
• George Gilbertson, SHS 1943
George Gilbertson, who inherited and ran Snohomish Drug Company for 40 years, died in March at age 97.
He was on the school board for 26 years, from 1959 to 1985. The Snohomish School Board meets in a room named for him. Gilbertson took over his father’s drug store at 1116 First St., which had opened in 1917. George’s brother was longtime Panthers coach Keith Gilbertson Sr.
• Donald Stites
Don Stites left to serve his country during high school, returning to Snohomish to complete his diploma from Snohomish High. He died in February at age 97.
Graduates by the numbers
1939 - 108 — Compiled courtesy of
Jennifer Harris, Snohomish High School registrar
1940 - 92
1941 - 117
1943 - 85
1944 - 86
1945 - 88
1946 - 99
1947 - 112
1948 - 120
1949 - 107
1950 - 104
“I saw online Snohomish
has a 102-year-old,
did you try her?”
Snohomish does! Catherine Holt is 102. However, while there is a longstanding Holt family from Snohomish, Catherine Holt happened to have moved to Snohomish later in life. In addition, a different 100-year-old person who was suggested to the paper similarly grew up elsewhere.
Editor’s note of thanks
Thank you Caroline Baertsch for the underlying story idea.
* - Updated June 20, 2023: The spelling of the Kit Kat Kafe, from a historical photo believed to be from the 1930s, was three Ks, not the Kit-Kat Cafe.
** - Updated December 12, 2023:
Correction: The name of Don Stites was misspelled. Stites' last name was misspelled as Stiles. The Tribune became aware of the error in December. The Tribune regrets the error.
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