The Edwards Agency


Oscar Roloff: The second Ira Woodin

Ira Woodin

The second Ira Woodin, now 83.
Photo courtesy of Ira Woodin.

Oscar Roloff by Oscar Roloff
Recently, my wife Elaine and I drove over to Yakima to visit my cousin Flora and her husband Tom Hilton to do some articles on him. While we were there, Flora said Ira Woodin was an old friend of hers.
   Upon returning home, I wrote Ira and also phoned him, asking for background for a story I'd like to do on him for the Woodinville Weekly.
   Here is what he wrote to me:

Dear Oscar,
   I am the grandson of Ira and Susan Woodin. My father was Frank Woodin and my two aunts (Frank's sisters) were Mary Sanders and Helen Keller.
   The Keller kids were mostly all educators. I am just a fruit grower in Yakima who left Woodinville at the age of two.
   Since Grandpa Woodin died before I was born, I can only tell of things my father told me.
   In 1898, Dad and Grandpa Woodin left for Seattle for the Alaska Gold Rush. Grandpa must have been a rugged individual to go through the trials and hardships they encountered just to see and live all the excitement and hard work they endured.
   All their supplies had to be packed in on their backs to last them during their stay.
   Before they reached their destination, Dad became sick with spinal meningitis. He was hospitalized for some time, and this delay saved him from being buried in the avalanche that killed many men seeking gold.
   Dad spent his 21st birthday in Alaska with weather 60 degrees below zero waiting for his dad and the other men to bring in new supplies. He spent his 42nd birthday in France during World War I.
   He and his father came to the Seattle area in 1854. His father, Milton Woodin, and he started the first tannery in Seattle. Later, Grandpa homesteaded around Seattle, then came to what is now Woodinville.
   I can remember my grandmother. She died when I was about five years old. She was a very active, ambitious sort of a person. Always doing something. She made me a coonskin cap while she visited us in Cowiche during WWI while Dad was in the U.S. Army.
   As I understand it, Grandma Woodin was the community-spirited driver of the family. She was the one who acted as midwife and Sunday school teacher. As a church worker, she made her home available for community functions. I always thought she was the one that Woodinville was named after.
   Sorry I can't write more. I should have listened to my Dad and made notes so I would know more about Grandpa and Grandma Woodin.
   Also, remember, if I misspelled words, it's a poor speller that can't spell one word two different ways.

Ira Woodin

   Since Ira and I attended grammar schools in the Yakima area, it may be that we were at the same school. I can't remember many of my long-ago classmates. Besides, he's four years older and would be in classes ahead of me, and the upper classmen didn't speak to lower dumb pupils.