Our featured member for August, Yvonne Wells, is turning 90 on August 11th. Yvonne first discovered the Club through the volunteer program. She uses the treadmill faithfully and walks a mile in 28 minutes. When she met Jimmy, the membership coordinator, she felt that they had an immediate and special bond. She would like everyone to know what an exceptional person he is. This is very telling of Yvonne’s character, as she is always looking to shine a light on other’s good qualities.
She was born in Oregon but is a self-proclaimed Alaskan. She says her heart belongs to Alaska. Yvonne has had quite a life, hot air ballooning over the Willamette valley and rafting on the Yukon river. She has even grinned down numerous bears! One time she was atop a hill while her partner was at the bottom, he had a gun and she had no weapons. The only thing that prevented a grizzly bear from following her was the nearby wildfire and the winds that led the bear astray from her scent.
But she has many more stories to tell! When Yvonne was in high school she was in the drum and bugle choir, a marching band in which she played the drums. During WWII she even got to sing for the soldiers with the renowned Harry James when she was only 14 years old. They sang “You’ll Never Know,” a song that was very popular during that time. Yvonne was ecstatic. She felt like the soldiers were her brothers. Three years prior to this she started working at age 11. She worked 55 years as a waitress and retired at 78. She currently volunteers at a pregnancy care center writing thank-yous by hand to the generous donors that sponsor the center.
She met the love of her life through a pen pal ad that she placed in the paper. After turning away 8 marriage proposals that resulted from the ad, she met her soulmate when he arrived from a redeye flight on the USS Klondike. He looked around for her and when he saw her he pointed at her and said, “You, I’m going to marry you.” To which she replied, “No way, Jose.” Eight days later they were engaged. She married him on January 10, 2007 and he passed away on December 9 2013. She still wears the ring.
Yvonne experienced a lot of love. She had six children: Larry, Kim, Tim, Terry, Cheryl and Jim. Excluding one daughter that is now 67 years old, all of her children have passed away. The way Yvonne sees life is that, “Life is like a book. We all have to turn the page to the next chapter. When one chapter closes another opens. But another one always opens.”
The staff at Club Northwest agrees Yvonne, and we are very glad for the chapter where we got to meet you. Thank you for being so lovely.