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The Whitfords: Living the dream for 70 years

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Margaret Evelyn Cowley was born in Chehalis in 1925. While a junior in high school she served her country working for Boeing in the capacity of Rosie the Riveter. Stan Whitford was born in Kapowsin in 1921. It was possibly the worst of times. World War II was raging and the bloom of the world’s population was fiercely engaged. In 1944 despite missing fingers on his left hand, he served in the Navy. The fingers were lost in a train mishap when he was just 12.

The two first met at the old Century Ballroom in Tacoma on Feb. 10, 1945. It was love at first sight and they were married on March 31 of the same year!

In 1953 the Whitfords began construction of what would be their present-day house located in Milton. They traded land for labor with a family friend, Don Wakefield, and together they helped each other build their homes. The Whitfords first built a two car garage in which their now family of four lived for three-plus years. Hung blankets served as inside walls for their two children, Janis and Steve. The house was gradually built as money and time permitted. They eventually moved into the partially built house four years later.

During this period finances were a struggle. Stan worked wherever and whenever he could. Professionally he worked for Columbia Brewing Company, Bufflins, O’Farrell Brothers distributors, and finally for Cammarano Brothers distributors, where he would retire at age 65. When he was out of work he did whatever he could, raising chickens, ducks and pigs. He even worked for a time for his neighbor, Carl Anderson, who ran a chicken farm. His wages were paid in eggs.

Evelyn (as she prefers to be called) worked in the local farmers fields picking raspberries and green beans. Her children worked at her side. She would eventually become a Field Boss working for Everret Braden of Fife. In later years she worked for a family friend Frank Tyler of Edgewood manufacturing and packaging rat poison.

Life wasn’t all work, however. Stan served many years as a volunteer fireman for the Edgewood Fire Department. He enjoyed fishing with his children, hunting, and Boy Scouts with his son Steven. Evelyn filled their home with beautiful landscapes she painted and porcelain dolls. She was active as a Campfire leader with daughter Janis and they all enjoyed camping and blackberry picking.

After retirement, the Whitfords became active in the Teamsters Retirement Club. He still fishes, she still paints. He makes lawn swings, she gardens. They have seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

On March 28 of this year they will celebrate 70 years of marriage. An anniversary gathering will be held at the Mission Woods Church in Milton where they worship. The event will be from 1-4 p.m. And there will be a renewal of vows ceremony at 2 p.m. officiated by Reverend Earl Cowley, brother of the bride. Friends and family are cordially invited.