Tuesday, July 20, 2010

EWGS Presidents Shirley E. Penna-Oakes

This is the thirty ninth in the series on the Presidents of EWGS leading up to the 75th anniversary in 2010. See the previous posts on Samuel Pool Weaver, Leora Cookingham Thiel, Susan Marie West Jack, Ruth Churchill Austin, Alfred Denman, Florence Ballou Brown, Harriet Jefferson Pinkham, Mary Elizabeth Dow Maltbie, Achsah Maltbie Rawlings, Lee DeGolyer Patchen, Susie Elliott Faubion, Edith Webb Nelson, Carrie Teats Lartigue, Guy Alfred Clumpner, Grace Ellis Woodward, Mabel Rue Frederick, Nell Hartman Peel, Edwin Allan Poole, Mabel Enid Rice Conrad, Helen Elizabeth Osborne Rowe, Dr. Herbert Hoover Osborne, Jane Merritt Logie Webster, Beatrice Cutler Mitcham, Marie E. Stone Larson, Lorena May Saylor Wildman, Raymond J. Fisher, Grace E. Kelso Garner , Catherine P. Cornehl Hyslop, Barbara J. Wirt Clarkson, Ruby L. Simonson McNeill, Jeanne J. Jones Holder , Jeanne M. Polumsky Coe , Maxine E. LeGrant Pence, Mary Kay McGlothlin Gant, Elizabeth Dale Hastin Smith, Bette Butcher Topp, Gordon Dean Clay, and John R. Zeimantz

Shirley Penna-Oakes was EWGS President 2000 and 2001 and due to passage of Initiative 695 the city of Spokane lost a big chunk of funding mainly for the police, and since this would have really devastated the police department the city council divided up the loss so all the departments that were funded by the general fund were cut an equal amount. The library which never received any money from the Excise tax that was eliminated by I-695 ended up cutting hours at the downtown library. I will quote from the Spokesman Review article on the cuts "Due to cuts the Spokane Public Library downtown will change its hours effective December 27, 1999 to: Mondays and Tuesdays noon to 8 p.m.; Wednesdays through Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. closed Saturdays and Sundays. The availability of the downtown library's meeting rooms will be curtailed in accordance with the new hours." So the library where EWGS had been meeting the first Saturday of each month since the 1930s was closed Saturdays due to budget cuts from I-695 and the library did not receive any of the money that was cut by I-695 before the passage of I-695. So EWGS met for the two years Shirley was EWGS President at the Salvation Army building at 222 E. Indiana. EWGS was also having a feud with the library over the genealogy collection and volunteers in the library. Twenty two months of negotiations and an agreement was reached. Notice the library hours on Thursday was cut to 6 p.m., I had volunteered as a gene helper from 6 to 9 p.m. the second Thursday, and now the library was closed. After the agreement EWGS volunteers were now in the library Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The first picture is the official EWGS Presidential picture, but this one is from the Bulletin. Shirley was born to Raffeal Penna and Eleanor Bricker in Hillyard. Raffeal was the third child of Antonio and Virginia (Domico) Penna both from Italy and married in Spokane in 1907. Shirley lived most of her childhood in Spokane and moved to Springfield, Oregon in 1962, to live with her dad. Shirley met and married Richard (Dick) Oakes in 1970. They have two daughters, six grandchildren and one great grandson. Dick and Shirley were fireman/paramedics and there is a nice article on the Bulletin about their work in fighting a fire at Tum Tum July 4, 2001.
Shirley came along during the time when surname booklets were popular and Shirley published many including; Tucker Times, Bricker Branches, Lewis Unlimited, Oakes Acorns, Gates Gazette, Indiana Queries, Pennsylvania Queries, New England Queries & Reviews and Mid Atlantic Queries and Reviews.
The April seminar was Dr. John Phillip Colletta April 15, 2000 at Days Inn 4212 West Sunset Blvd., cost $35.00. I missed this seminar as I was pretty busy April 15th. In the Fall the NGS held a regional seminar in Spokane October 14, 2000 and the two speakers were Curt Witcher from the Allen County Library (home of PERSI) and John Vincent Wylie, at the Double Tree Hotel in the valley (Now Mirabeau Park Hotel), cost $40.00 for NGS members.

The spring seminar was canceled due to the NGS conference at Portland, Oregon May 16-19, 2001. This picture is the convention center at Portland where the conference was held, and we stayed across the street at the Best Western Hotel. I wrote an article on this conference for the Bulletin and used this same picture. The October workshop was October 6, 2001 at Spokane Falls Community College, cost $35.00.
This brings about a lot of memories, I was still doing research for EWGS, and I really liked being there Mondays, but now the library closed an hour earlier, and I still was not very fast in doing the research so that loss of an hour really changed my research hours. I also usually rode the bus to the library as the bus stopped right in front of my house until I-695 passed and then STA which did receive funds from the Excise Tax that I-695 canceled, cut many routes and now I had to walk a block to catch the same bus. Shirley and Dick are always excellent volunteers. Shirley has taught many classes, and was chairman to many conferences. Hard to believe she had time for all the surname booklets.

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