Stories About People...
In 1978 Edwin Parker’s 90 years of life ended and he was celebrated by his Everett UU congregation. He had been an active Unitarian all of his adult life. He once addressed a service at the fellowship saying that “Catholics are Catholics for Life, Episcopalians are Episcopalians for life, but Unitarians are Unitarians for about 10 years”. Edwin was an exception to this rule.
Edwin and Helen Parker are often called the founders of this fellowship. They were both charter members. His life was dedicated to searching for knowledge, understanding and concern for people, while creating beauty around him.
In the 1950’s Edwin and Helen often held services at their 15 acre hill top home which he called” Timber Top” that overlooked Marysville.
Edwin was instrumental in purchasing the Baker Street Church. Helen was the director of religious education.
Edwin was a man of many talents and interests. He built his first sailboat at age 14 and went on to be an architectural engineer specializing in designing newspaper buildings around the world, Havana, Cuba, Mexico, Honolulu, Cincinnati and Boston, to name a few of his projects. He also was a painter, avid reader and writer of a book entitled “Timber” about the early labor problems in Everett. Edwin was one of the Founders of the PUD in Snohomish County.
Phil Worden was NOT a member of EUUF, but he was a MAJOR (essentially anonymous) financial contributor to the Fellowship. His daughter, Linda Moon had been quite active with EUF at Baker Street with children's programs. When Linda was diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s Disease shortly after we moved to Marysville, Phil settled in Everett and did everything he could to help his daughter. As I recall, in 1996 Phil donated a substantial sum to fund the elevator, which is dedicated to Linda. In addition, Phil replaced sound equipment which had been stolen and paid for the first “EUUF” (routed) roadside sign on Fourth Street. When Linda died, Phil offered EUUF many of his apartment furnishings and moved away. Thank you, Phil Worden.
Suzzane Swing (she earned the label “madam”) was a fixture at EUF during the 60s. She had lived in France and had been married to a famous World War II era foreign correspondent named Raymond Gramm Swing. Her specialty, besides creating heavenly French Onion Soup, was to preside like a matriarch over the informal library at the Baker Street Church on Sunday mornings. Anyone returning a book late was roundly scolded. (Her old “library table” is in our Narthrex today.) Our current Library Room is appropriately named “Swing Library” to honor Suzzane. Based on Edwin Parker’s design, she stitched the “Tree of Life” on the hanging which has been relegated to the Ramp Entry. It truly deserves a more prominent location.
Dwight Wales attended EUF in the late 1960s. He was a rotund, elderly man with a benign, smiling face. He lived on a “stump ranch” near Bryant and was steeped in Indian lore, which he shared with the children during RE classes. Each summer, people were invited to his “ranch” for a potluck. The children rushed to his barn where they would climb up into the hayloft, grab the rope, swing out and, finally, drop into a pile of hay. As I recall, there were NO “permission slips” and there certainly was NO insurance. A less popular activity was Dwight’s annual hog slaughtering event, which provided his supply of meat AND unforgettable anatomy lessons for those with stomach enough to participate.
Carro Mae Sawyer
Carro Mae attended EUF during the 60s and 70s. She grew up in Everett during the Depression, when the “Wobblies” (Industrial Workers of the World) were active and labor unrest was common. She was at once the most generous, AND the most politically radical person, I had ever met. She was also an unmitigated hoarder, as anyone could tell if they ever visited her home. One other characteristic forever marked Carro Mae; she was ALWAYS late for church. This was especially awkward in the spring when the rest of us switched to Daylight Saving Time. Year after year, without fail, Carro Mae would sneak up the creaky inner stairway to the sanctuary at Baker Street and stare in wonder as the morning service was drawing to a close.
Ivah Deering was not a regular attendee at EUF during the 60s and 70s, but she had an almost magnetic influence on many of the members. Ivah and her husband, Tam, had almost a blinding passion for environmental education. They purchased about 20 acres southeast of Marysville and worked hard to make it an environmental laboratory. I recall taking our children to walk the trails and admire the wildlife while Ivah tried to coerce the adults into greater participation. In my opinion, Ivah was the most dedicated and the most driven person I have ever met. Before Tam died, they “gifted” the land to The Nature Conservancy. Ultimately, this property became a City Park and is appropriately named “Deering Wildflower Acres”. Check it out sometime.