In 1993, Sue Ness becomes first female postmaster in Aberdeen

World Gone By


March 12, 1943

Beef, pork, lamb and mutton will be rationed at an average of about two pounds a week for home consumption starting Monday, March 29. Rationing of butter, cheese, other edible fats and oils and canned fish will start at the same time.

Still unrationed on the basis of today’s announcements will be milk, cereal, fresh fruits and vegetables, bakery goods and numerous specialties such as relishes.

March 15, 1943

Capt. Martha Raye, who has been entertaining troops in Britain and North Africa for 4 1/2 months, told today of spending three days and nights in a slit trench during a succession of air raids, of being bombed out of her bed and of being in a plane that was attacked by German fliers.

She lost all her clothes in one North African air raid and borrowed a private’s pants and shirt until a specially designed uniform arrived from England.

Less than two weeks before she was scheduled to return home she came down with yellow fever or a reaction to yellow fever shots and was hospitalized for eight days.

“My biggest thrill,” she said, “was standing on a hotel roof during a raid and seeing the search lights pick up an enemy bomber. Then our ack-ack brought it down in flames, right in the spotlight.”

March 16, 1943

Howard Anderson, gunners mate first class, and former electric and power company service man, was out for a stroll on one of the tiny islands in the south seas recently when whom should he see! None other than his old school mate and lifelong friend, Al Holland, pharmacist first class, and former Aberdeen pharmacist.

“We were both flabbergasted, to say the least,” said Anderson in a letter to his wife. “Did we have a good old-fashioned talk session! After months without seeing anyone from our section, seeing Al made the island almost seem like home. Of course, both of us would like to stroll down old Wishkah street again!”

March 17, 1943

Lem Elway, paratrooper, arrived last night from Fort Benning, Ga., to spend a 15-day furlough with his parents on Simpson Avenue in Hoquiam.

Elway earned his silver wings at Fort Benning on Christmas Eve.

“It’s an exciting branch of the service, all right,” Elway agreed. “We have to jump five times to qualify for our wings. The first jump is from 1,500 feet, the second two from 1,200 feet and the last one 800 feet. On that last one you don’t have much time to think. In combat, we’ll be jumping from 400 feet.”

March 18, 1943

Fire destroyed a wartime magnesium plant on the port area last night with the flashing brilliance of a mammoth pyrotechnic display.

Above the flames of the burning plant, intensely brilliant explosive puffs went skyward in a spectacle that was clearly visible for several miles.

Workers in the building escaped without injury, although Fire Chief Charles Borum said many of them carried magnesium filled containers from the ground floor despite the danger.


March 13, 1968

“This was a great man and his greatness was not measured by wealth or power but by the effect he had on the lives of the young and old alike.”

Eldon Anderson, president of the Hoquiam YMCA’s board of directors, offered that tribute last night just before the unveiling of a portrait of the late Oscar Lovgren, long-time Y general secretary.

The occasion was the YMCA’s 64th annual dinner-meeting, and nearly 150 person were on hand.

Anderson’s words of praise might have embarrassed Oscar Lovgren — a modest, hard-working man who served the YMCA for 56 years.

But Lovgren was a special man. And to those who knew him, the tribute was appropriate.

March 14, 1968

Girl Scout Troop 44 of Alexander Young recently went on a hike to the reservoir. They also went to Penney’s to see how to use pattern books and learned the names of different materials; and to Finch Play Park to play games. They are now working on their sewing badges.

March 18, 1968

LeRoy Beck, 43, of Grayland, veteran Twin Harbors area fisherman, was resting comfortably at the Willapa Harbor Hospital in South Bend last night, having cheated death by fire, drowning and asphyxiation in a dramatic series of incidents during a $40,000 boat fire on Willapa Bay Sunday.

Beck, with his son, Pete, 20, were aboard the Adventuress, a 50-foot fishing boat, tending to crab pots about two miles from the Tokeland boat basin when the vessel erupted in flames. Pete jumped in the inflated rubber life raft but it drifted away from the burning vessel before LeRoy could climb aboard.

After jumping into the water and paddling for about 15 minutes to reach the raft, the elder Beck was having trouble breathing due to his chronic asthma. The Coast Guard arrived, called for a resuscitator from the North Cove fire district to meet them at the Tokeland dock and Beck was placed in the Coast Guard’s carry-all and rushed to the hospital.


March 12, 1993

One of the state’s top bilingual educators is now faced with the task of teaching a word that’s hard to say in any language: “Goodbye.”

For three years, Terria Smith, an instructional assistant at Robert Gray School in Aberdeen, has taught children from Cambodia, Laos, Mexico, Colombia, India and Thailand to say some of their very first words in English.

Her husband, Gary, who lost his maintenance job when the ITT Rayonier Pulp Mill closed, found a job in Eastern Washington and will be moving right away. Mrs. Smith and their four children will be leaving their Hoquiam home and following at the end of the school year.

“She is the heart of our (English as a second language) program,” said Judy Astells, principal at Robert Gray. “She has given (her students) lots of extra time. You can just see the love that she has for them. We’ll be sorry to see her leave.”

March 14, 1993

Last week Jake Myers unveiled Elma’s new and improved version of the neighborhood grocery outlet.

“Our goal is to keep Elma shoppers home,” said the owner of Everybody’s. “We’ve turned this into a one-stop shopping center … it’s like a mini-Fred Meyer right here in little ol’ Elma.”

Myers has refitted many aisles with a wide array of warehouse-style items from over-sized boxes of Cherrios to 50-pound bags of rice and popcorn.

He’s installed a Pay Net system, allowing customers to pay with Visa or MasterCard credit cards as well as with their local bank cards. He’s also joined forces with hardware giant Coast to Coast and he’s now carrying tools, plumbing supplies, appliances, skateboards and bicycles.

There’s also complimentary popcorn at the newly designed service desk as well as a video rental section.

March 15, 1993

It may be the shortest summer ever for students at A.J. West Elementary School.

The Aberdeen School Board will make the final decision in one week, but it looks likely that the West End kids will head back to school on Aug. 18 as a two-year pilot program for a year-round school schedule gets underway.

“This is a cutting edge thing that we are close to pulling off,” said Superintendent Sonja Martin. “We’re trying, in a creative way, to meet the needs of the children.”

After a workshop session last week, the school board discussed the advantages of the year-round program — improved academic achievement, less time spent on review, improved attendance and few discipline problems.

But there are some drawbacks: bucking tradition, families having students on more than one calendar and having to change family schedules.

March 16, 1993

Sue Ness has come a long way from the day 13 years ago when she applied for a temporary job at the Satsop Post Office.

The full-time mother of three boys just wanted “to get out of the house.”

On Monday, Mrs. Ness became the first female postmaster in Aberdeen history. She’s only the 16th person to hold the job since a post office was established here in 1884. Moreover, she’s probably the only native Aberdonian to ever attain the post.

March 17, 1993

Reaction was both swift and scathing yesterday to the news that the Union Pacific Railroad is considering ending rail service to Grays Harbor and wants out of its agreement to participate in the Deeper Draft channel improvement project.

“I am shocked and outraged,” said Ben Watson, a bar pilot who must navigate ships through the narrow opening of the railroad bridge across the Chehalis River at Aberdeen.

Work to replace the existing bridge, which dates back to 1910, was to begin this summer as part of the $64 million Deeper Draft project. The railroad in 1990 agreed to fund the necessary rail improvements to accommodate the new bridge, which is being brought in from Little Rock, Ark.

Union Pacific officials report it has lost 54 percent of its business on Grays Harbor, mostly as a result of the pulp and paper mill closures.

Compiled from the archives of The Daily World by Karen Barkstrom