Margaret Ann (Twining) Walston, age 90, passed away unexÂ¬pectedly of a stroke on December 2, 2011 in Colville. Born May 25, 1921 in Coulee City, she became the wife of Dale L. Walston of Colville in 1950 in Coulee City, and celebrated 61 years of marriage this past July.
Margaret graduated from Coulee City High School in 1939 as valedictorian of her class. She went on to graduate in 1944 from Eastern Washington College of Education in Cheney, where she majored in Home Economics, and enjoyed natural science courses such as geology. She began her long teaching career in Hoquiam, and retired from the Colville Public Schools in 1973, receiving the Colville Education Association â€śTeacher of the Yearâ€ť award that year. She also taught in Aberdeen, Mount Vernon and Clarkston. Over the years, she taught in most grades, and in all of the Colville school buildings, including three that have since been torn down (Eels Academy, Angus MacDonald, and David Thompson). She taught elementary grades at Aster School for the last six years of her career.
Margaret was raised on the family farm near Coulee City, helping with farm chores and spending many hours outdoors with her brother exploring the dry land area around what is now Banks Lake. When Grand Coulee Dam was built in the 1930â€™s, the family home and farm buildings were moved into the town of Coulee City, and the homestead acres were inundated by the reservoir. Margaretâ€™s father, Alf (A.J.) Twining, served as Coulee City Postmaster from the mid-1930â€™s until his retirement in the early 1970â€™s. Margaret was proud of her Welsh heritage; her grandfather and grandmother Twining immigrated to the WestÂ¬ern United States in the 1880â€™s and joined other Welsh pioneer homesteaders in the Coulee City area.
During high school and college, Margaret held summer jobs such as apple picking in Chelan, as a nanny for a doctorâ€™s family in Spokane, and clerking at a warehouse that disposed of surÂ¬plus materials from the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. She also learned to hand-tint photographs, and applied to enter the Army, scoring highly on mechanical ability.
During a break from teaching in the war years of 1943-1944, she was working for a bus company in Seattle and was supposed to be â€śfrozenâ€ť to this essential transportation job, but wanted to leave, so told them she was returning to teaching, naming Colville as her destination because it seemed far away. She and a college friend traveled by bus to Colville, were hired as teachers, and roomed with two other teachers in a private home. (Married women were not allowed to teach at this time, so boarding single teachers was common.) At this home, â€śThe Teachersâ€ť were strongly encouraged to attend church with the couple, where they became active in the Methodist Young Adult group. In 1946, when several young men came home from the service, the conÂ¬gregation began match-making, which resulted in several marÂ¬riages, including that of Margaret and Dale.
Margaret continued teaching full-time and as a substitute while she and Dale raised their two children, kept a large garden, and was active in the Methodist Church and Fort Colville Grange. She baked, grew and canned much of the familyâ€™s food; sewed and knitted clothing for the family and for school producÂ¬tions; created Fair Booths and painted backdrops for Grange programs; served as baking and flower judge at the Fair for sevÂ¬eral years; invented Halloween costumes for children and grandÂ¬children; and built a large rock garden on the â€śsidehillâ€ť of their home on North Alder Street. A high point of every summer was the arrival of huckleberry season, and finding each yearâ€™s ultiÂ¬mate berry patch with high bushes and large berries that filled the lard pails faster!
As grandchildren began arriving, she enjoyed reading and cooking with them, sewing Halloween costumes, and taking the kids on vacation with Grandma and Grandpa. After Dale retired from the Colville Post Office, he and Margaret enjoyed keeping up their garden, traveling by car to 47 of the Lower 48 states and 9 of the 10 Canadian provinces, and participating in community activities such as Fort Colville Grange (60-year member), Stevens County Pomona Grange, Miss-N-Links Square Dance Club, the Northeast Washington Fair, and the Colville United Methodist Church.
Margaret was preceded in death by her brother, Dan Twining, in 1989, and by her parents, Alfred J. Twining and Elsie B. (Boone) Twining.
She is survived by her husband Dale at their home; her daughter, Susan Walston (Merriam, KS); son Richard Walston (Colville); seven grandchildren: Ryan Walston, Tacoma (Valerie); Erin Walston, Colville; Lieven Walston (Jessica), Spokane, AnÂ¬drea Walston, Dayna Walston (Josh), Tanner Walston, Ridge Walston; and three great-grandchildren: Jackson and Aleigh Cook (Erin) and Fiona (Ryan and Valerie); and Ryan and Erinâ€™s mother, Vicki Eveland.
A memorial service to celebrate Margaretâ€™s life was held Dec. 6 at the Colville Community (Methodist) Church.
Memorial contributions may be given to the church education fund, or to the Colville Food Bank (210 South Wynne St, Colville, WA 99114).
Please visit the on-line memorial and sign the guest book at www.danekasfuneralchapel.com.
Danekas Funeral Chapel and Crematory has been entrusted with the arrangements.
Private inurnment will take place at a future date at Highland Cemetery, Colville.