A life together: Snoqualmie's Carol and Charles Peterson look back on 50 years of marriage; City hall party is Friday
By CAROL LADWIG
Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter
April 10, 2012 · 1:43 PM
Superstitions aside, the judge who refused to officiate at Charles Peterson and Carol Jones’ wedding ceremony Friday, April 13, 1962, had good reason for his reluctance.
“He was in uniform,” Carol said, pointing to her husband, Charles, a Snoqualmie City Councilman, “and (the judge) thought that I had just gotten into town and just met him, and he did not want to marry us on Friday the 13th!”
Judge John Malloy was half right. Carol had just arrived in Washington D.C.
She had come specifically to marry Charles, and begin the married life she’d been anticipating since she first met him three years earlier, at age 16.
“I got into town on a Wednesday night, stayed at a hotel, and on Thursday, we went to get the license, and I just didn’t want to put off getting married…” Carol said. “So Friday morning, we went to get married, and I’m not sure we realized it was Friday the 13th, but the judge did immediately, and he objected strongly to it!”
After letting the judge imagine the worst for a few minutes, the couple convinced him they’d known each other for years, and he agreed to perform the ceremony. He asked Carol to write him a letter, though, letting him know if it worked out. She did, every five years of their marriage, until the judge’s death.
Carol and Charles, in this photo from the first years of their marriage.
Carol had intended to set up housekeeping with Charles at his post near Fort Belvoir, Virginia, work for the Navy Department, and play baseball on a semi-pro team. However, within three weeks of their wedding, Charles was sent to Greenland, and Carol headed back to North Bend, and her parents’ home.
It was disappointing to Carol, who said they would have planned for a wedding back home if they’d known in advance about the Greenland assignment. It was disappointing and bitterly cold to Charles.
“It was cool,” he said, wryly. “The warmest day while I was there was 32 degrees above 0. It was 20 below the day I left, and I saw the sun set once.”
Back home in the Valley, in 1963, Charles and Carol bought a home in Charles’ hometown of Snoqualmie, and began their family, and their careers. They had a daughter, Julie, and a son, Ryan, and mixed in their family activities with increasing work responsibilities.
Charles, who’d worked as an electrician at Weyerhauser before his military career, returned to the mill, becoming a manager and later a union leader and president of the 11-state Western Council of Industrial Workers. Carol, trained for airline management, began working as an aide for U.S. Representative Julia Butler Hansen, and then for her successor Don Bonker, representing Washington’s third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The couple, whose first date was to a Democratic caucus, maintains an interest in politics to this day. Charles was appointed to a Snoqualmie City Council position in 1967, and held it through 1974, when he started his first of two terms as Mayor. He stepped down from city government in 1982, but was soon recruited for the Planning Commission, where he served five years. In 2004, he was called on to serve again, when the Snoqualmie City Council expanded from five members to seven. He has since been re-elected twice, running unopposed in both 2007 and last fall.
Carol is quite proud of their accomplishments for the Upper Valley back when they both worked in government, such as helping to build the Mount Si senior center and Snoqualmie Valley Hospital.
Carol has also managed a philanthropic foundation, and served as team administrator for the Seattle Sounders Soccer Club in the 1980s. She founded the Snoqualmie Valley Garden Club, led the project to install welcome signs in historic Snoqualmie, has served in many leadership roles at the Snoqualmie United Methodist Church, as a board member of the SnoFalls Credit Union, a leader in the League of Women Voters and was a King County food advisor assisting the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank.
There are still a few changes she’d like to see wrought in the community, but by a new leader. Carol has done her share and now keeps busy with her church activities, and her garden.
Charles would like to see more businesses open up in the city, and he shares his wife’s opinion on community activism. “I think we just realized that one person can make a difference,” Carol said.
Charles adds, “You just meet with people, and ask what you can do.”
To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, the Petersons hope to meet with many members of the community at an open house from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 13, in the Council Chambers of Snoqualmie City Hall.
Ask them for their secret to success, and you’ll find Charles pointing back at Carol.
“You have to be sure of the one you’re marrying,” she says, simply. “I was, at 15 or 16 years old.”
There is one other thing, she adds. “When you find the one you want, you quit looking!”
“Anyway, we’re pretty happy,” says Charles.
Contact Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter Carol Ladwig at firstname.lastname@example.org.