03 December 2003

Mildred Scheibner

When Mildred Scheibner moved into Coulee City in September 1989, her daughter Marilyn Tanneberg was running the Tanneberg Insurance Agency by herself. So Mildred started stopping by what is now the Main Street Center where Tanneberg Insurance is located to pick up and deliver the day’s mail. Someone meets her at the bottom of the stairs now, but she still treks past the fire station to the Center nearly every day on her appointed rounds.

The Scheibners raised five girls: Nancy, June, twins Marilyn and Carolyn, and Janet. Mildred now has 14 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren with number 29 due in the next two weeks.

Wendell and Ida Bogart had their first child, Mildred, on August 29, 1909. A nurse traveled from Coulee City to the family’s home near Saint Andrews to assist the new mother and child seven years before the Bogarts became the first family in the area to have indoor plumbing. Mildred was eventually joined by a brother, Maurice, and two sisters, Doris and Winifred.

The Bogarts sent Mildred to the first and second grades in Coulee City. She stayed at her Aunt Lucy’s home during the week and went home on weekends. The third through the eighth grade she attended the Gilbert school before going to high school in Coulee City. When she graduated in 1927, she received a scholarship to attend Whitworth, but her mother’s poor health meant she was needed at home.

In 1930 she moved back to Coulee City to work in the post office. During her tenure, the post office was located behind the stairs on the first floor of the Main Street Center and then moved to the theatre building that stood east of what is now Lincoln Mutual. Working there, Mildred experienced first hand the population growth and the dramatic increase in business when construction began on Grand Coulee Dam.

Mildred married Maurice “Mac” Scheibner in Waterville, Wash., January 27, 1934. Maurice worked as a mechanic until they moved out to farm the Hartman place for a year before taking over her father’s farm after her mother died in 1945. Harvest in those days was busy in the kitchen as well as the field and Mildred remembers the kitchen was sometimes relatively understaffed. “For 3 months one summer I had 13” people to feed, she said. When ill health forced Maurice to stop farming in 1965, he went back to mechanic work till shortly before his death January 26, 1988.

Last Saturday morning Mildred sat in her daughter, Janet Evans’ living room visiting with Janet and her daughter Nichole, who was home from college. Janet took a white crocheted angel down from its perch overlooking the living room and pointed out the detailed work required to make it. And that was just one example of Mildred’s work. “I have two [afghans] and I’m the youngest grandchild,” Nichole said.

Another granddaughter, Kristie (Tanneberg) Silva, remembers grandma’s fridge always having a supply of chocolate pudding. Also, “When I got sick and needed to stay home from school or church, mom would call grandma to come stay with me or she would take me over to her house,” Silva said via e-mail, “She would always make me chicken noodle soup and give me 7-up.”

Alisa Westover, who mowed Scheibner’s lawn this past summer, said Scheibner “was always pleasant,” and added “she’s always concerned about my life,” asking about school and other activities.

“She was the neatest lady to go and visit people,” said Mary Pat Brown, a longtime friend. “She didn’t preach or anything. You just knew what she believed,” Brown said. For over twenty years Scheibner was also cradle role superintendent for the Assembly of God Church, visiting mothers of new babies regularly until the child reached two years of age.

Longtime friend and next-door neighbor, Nell Vaughn said, “She’s always the same. She always tries to see the good in people.” “When you’re around her you feel that calmness,” Tanneberg said by telephone from her insurance office, “She never worries about anything. She just loves God.” “She’s very much an example of a Christian to me,” Brown said.

Reprinted with permission from "News & Standard," Coulee City, Washington, all other rights reserved.

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