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Eleanor Remlinger celebrates 90 years

Eleanor Remlinger celebrated her 90th birthday on March 12 with friends and family at an open house at the Sno-Valley Senior Center in Carnation.

Eleanor Louise Larson was born March 10, 1916, in a little house that still exists on East Bird Street in "Tolt." She spent the first year of her life with her family in that house. When Eleanor was born, her father, William Henry Larson, 27, was a teamster and her mother, Mary Lillian Larson, 25, was a housewife.

When Eleanor was a year old, the family with four children moved to the Larson homestead on the east side of the Milwaukee Railroad tracks where she grew up with many happy memories of playing in the farm house, barn yard, fields and orchards. Three more children were added to the family. Her father drove log trucks, was the fire chief of the volunteer fire department in Carnation and did all the chores on the farm from making hay to milking about 15 cows every morning and evening.

Even though Eleanor said that her father insisted that the girls' jobs were to help their mother in the house, she has many memories of all the animals, picking apples, picking wild blackberries, tending the garden on the farm and swimming in the cold Tolt River. That farm is the present location of the Swift Water housing development.

Eleanor's lineage goes back to the beginning of Carnation's pioneer history. Her mother's father, Tucker, was a Nova Scotia Irishman with his wife from Wisconsin who had lived in Virginia before moving to the Carnation Valley. They homesteaded the dairy farm next to the present-day Tall Chief Golf Course in the 1880s. The Larson family, originally from Sweden, had worked in the coal mines of Black Diamond before homesteading their family farm in Carnation. Eleanor's father was 2 years old when the family arrived in Carnation in 1889.

Eleanor and her parents were all educated in Valley schools. She graduated valedictorian of her grade-school class and salutatorian of her high-school class. Encouraged by her parents, she participated in many of the school clubs, including honor society and sports. She worked in the school library and office and competed in a typing contest at the University of Washington. She won many awards in 4-H, traveling to Pullman and the national convention in Chicago.

After graduation, Eleanor worked in the cannery where they processed peas, beans and corn. The next fall she took a machine course at Metropolitan Business College in Seattle. Eleanor's first real job was at the Carnation Post Office and, along with her postal duties, janitorial work was included. She received no pay to be the postmaster's wife's house servant, his typist and witness for his law office, which was located in the back. Eleanor worked at the Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co. for a time until she was married in 1941 - the company had a rule against hiring married women so after her marriage, she went back to the post office as a substitute rural carrier.

Eleanor was invited on a blind date to a movie where she met Floyd Remlinger. After a two-year courtship, they were married in the Tolt Congregational Church that her grandparents and parents helped build.

Floyd had bought the greenhouses in Carnation after graduating form Kirkland High School. He was a distributor for Pommerelle wine and worked as a draftsman at the shipyards on Lake Washington during the war. Eleanor did a lot of the work in the greenhouses. On Mondays, she picked up wine in Seattle, then met Floyd and together they delivered the wines throughout the Snoqualmie Valley.

Eleanor enjoyed just being a mother to her son Gary and daughter Jan for a time before she was asked to substitute as a bank teller at the Seattle First National Bank. She was asked to work full time at the Duvall branch, retiring in 1976 after surviving three armed robberies and discovering a 10-cent error that uncovered a $90,000 embezzlement.

Floyd went to work for Herb Fryer and together they planted strawberries on his farm south of Carnation. In 1952, they planted more berries at the present Remlinger Farms and then purchased the land in 1955, building their home where Eleanor still lives today. Eleanor has seen many changes on the farm, from planting different crops to the growth and development of the market that exists today.

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