Community

Grange marks 100 years of service

Deer Lagoon Overseer Chuck Prochaska and Grange Master Ken Schillinger listen to Washington State Grange Master June Hendrickson address a gathering on Saturday, celebrating 100 years of service at the Deer Lagoon Grange in Langley. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Deer Lagoon Overseer Chuck Prochaska and Grange Master Ken Schillinger listen to Washington State Grange Master June Hendrickson address a gathering on Saturday, celebrating 100 years of service at the Deer Lagoon Grange in Langley.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

Several dozen people gathered Saturday for a luncheon at the Deer Lagoon Grange on Bayview Road to celebrate 100 years of service on South Whidbey.

Several Granges were organized in the period from 1909 through 1913 on Whidbey Island, including those in the communities of Clinton, Oak Harbor, Freeland, Saratoga and Deer Lagoon, said Grange Overseer Chuck Prochaska.

Most of the Granges did not survive to the end of World War I. The bright spot was Deer Lagoon. Even though the original Grange did not make it past the war’s end, the people of Deer Lagoon Grange did survive, and they recreated their Grange as Deer Lagoon Grange No. 846 in 1926.

“Thus we can celebrate a century of Grange on South Whidbey, because the concept of fraternity and community service has survived until this day,” Prochaska said.

The awards for Grange service were presented by Washington State Grange Master June Hendrickson, noting that a new organization had formed in Penn Cove, and that Granges have been undergoing a rebirth of sorts in the past few years.

Prochaska introduced local philanthropist Nancy Nordhoff, who was recognized for her help ten years ago.

“Nancy stepped forward when we needed financial help,” Prochaska said. “We had a small budget and a declining membership and our hall was in sad shape. Thanks to her, membership has improved, and we have this fine building that we’re in today.”

Nordhoff thanked those attending and explained the secret of her generosity.

“Chuck came to me and asked for help; it’s as simple as that,” she said.

Others given awards for service included James Keyes, a member since December 1951; Gerald Bell, a resident of Coupeville who joined in March 1958; Dr. R.O. Ellis, who joined in December 1958; Kenneth Schillinger of Langley, current Deer Lagoon Grange Master, who joined in March 1972; Tom Talbot of Clinton, who joined in June 1960; and Prochaska of Greenbank, who began his service in March 1978.

For more information on Deer Lagoon Grange activities, call Prochaska at 222-3110.

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