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March 12 | 50 years ago today on South Whidbey

The following are selected stories from page 1 of the March 12, 1964 edition of the South Whidbey Record. They are the first installment of a history corner, a weekly special segment of past headlines and stories from half a century ago. For more details, see the editorial on page 6.

Editor at the time: Ace Comstock

Publisher: Glenn Smith

Local youths escape wreck Saturday night

Wayne Lieser was pinned beneath a wrecked car for 45 minutes following a car accident on Maxwelton Road.

Lieser, Tom Permenter, and Leslie Rosemeyer, all 16, were headed home from a dance when the car went into a ditch, hit a rock and flipped over, according to state Trooper Dick Ward.

Lieser was thrown through the windshield and the car landed on top of him. It was “carefully lifted off the pinned youngster by Simmons wrecker” and he suffered “several bad bruises to his legs and got a shiner out of the accident.”

Sale of tickets for crab feed now underway

South Whidbey Lions Club president Jim Hay announced that advance ticket sales had begun for the South Whidbey Lions Club’s annual crab feed.

The event was held at the South Whidbey School’s cafeteria, and organizer Lion Norm Stockhoom emphasized that “cash admissions at the door will also be definitely welcomed.”

Freeland man nearly drowns while fishing

“Walter Gabelein, the ‘big bear’ of Freeland, added another narrow escape from death to his life story Tuesday morning when he was saved from drowning in Holmes Harbor by two Seattle fishermen.

Walt, living on borrowed time after a half-dozen narrow escapes during his career as a logger, slipped and tumbled out an aluminum boat … while fishing near the herring trap.

Weighted down with a heavy Mackinaw and boots, Walt was in danger of slipping beneath the frigid water when he was saved by Al Bennet and Bob Kay, both of Seattle. The two men had been fishing nearby and witnessed the accident.

Because of his water-soaked clothing, Walt couldn’t be hauled into the Seattle fishermen’s boat. He therefore hung onto the stern until they could row ashore.

Within a little more than an hour, the ‘big bear’ was fully recovered from his ordeal. He put on warm clothes, took a nip or two to warm up and went down to recover his gear. He lost only his fishing pole.

Fish caught — none.”

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