Dad is doing something he loves - railroading. His hobby is the miniature railroad at Train Mountain. He's been involved with this group since 2005. He and mom have a summer home in Chiloquin so he can be close by and doesn't have to spend so much gas money taking the motor home down.
My Dad was born in February 1937 in Pendleton, Oregon to Edward William Kludt and Bernice Laverne Swinehart. Some of his young days were spent in various logging areas as Papa worked for Weyerhauser. Every once in a while Dad would tell a story from those days. Like the time they lived in St. Maries, Idaho. They would play hide-n-seek amongst the equipment. Dad was so little he would be able to hide in the tire of the big rigs. Another of his memories was visiting his dad at the logging camps on a weekend and he learned that if he wanted to eat, he had to grab his food fast. Although, somebody hollered "hey, men, we have a guest, let him get his food first". See, they were so hungry, they just jabbed their forks into the meat. And Dad was so little, he couldn't reach the meat. Another story was told by Aunt Loreca Swinehart Stredwick. They were staying with them in the Edison District of Centralia. They were walking over the 6th street viaduct and all of a sudden dad took off running. When he got over to the other side, he said something like "that was a close one". What happened was a train was going underneath and had blown his whistle. I love these stories and I really need Dad to write them down for future generations. In the meantime, I try to capture them.
Eventually the family settled down in Galvin, Washington and Dad attended the school in Galvin then went to Centralia High School, graduating in 1955. Dad played trombone in the band in high school. He was also involved in FFA.
Dad met mom and they got married in 1957. They lived in Seattle for about a year then came "home" to Centralia to the dairy farm in Zenkner Valley (owned by Papa). They operated that until 1962 when they decided to own their own in Grand Mound. In 1967, they sold the farm and went back to the valley. The farm there was no longer a dairy farm but was beef.
Dad worked for the Centralia School District as a bus driver. His main route was Galvin. By the time he retired, he was hauling 3rd generation kids. Those kids had a lot o respect for him.
Our summers were spent camping, fishing and hiking when we weren't busy with haying. Winters were spent with his hobby, model railroading. He had an entire room dedicated (still does) to a layout. We spent a lot of time creating trains and running them around.
Dad loved being around kids. He was an advisor to an Explorer Post involved with Search & Rescue in Lewis County. He did that for several years (from about 1975 until probably the 1990's),
I spent a lot of time fishing with Dad out on lakes until I had to have a license at age 16. Dad & I were really close.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. Love you.
Here's a collage of pictures of Dad through the years.
|Senior Class Photo|
|Yearbook - Dad is in the middle row on the left|