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May Madeline Christie was born May 1, 1923, in Chimacum to Mary McClelland and Howard Christie. She attended the elementary school at Port Ludlow, where her father worked at the mill.
The family then moved to the Greenwood neighborhood in Seattle before relocating to West Seattle, where she attended West Seattle High School.
May always preferred rural life to Seattle and would often visit her grandfather James McClelland, an immigrant from Belfast, who lived on West Valley Road in Chimacum. On one of these visits, she met her grandfather's young neighbor, Wally Westergaard.
Starting with Wally, who was drop-dead handsome, May never lost her appreciation of a good-looking man. Their children would all agree that they were as much in love after 62 years of marriage as the day when they first met.
They married less than a month after Pearl Harbor on December 26, 1941. They then moved onto the farm with Wally's parents, Chris and Edna Westergaard. After the death of both parents, Wally and May inherited the farm, where they raised their six children.
At first, they farmed with Jersey cattle. Square dancing became an important part of their social life, with weekly dances both local and around the Peninsula.
May, who could sew just about anything, even without a pattern, designed and sewed Western shirts for Wally and dresses for herself to wear to these events. Many of their lifelong friendships began with the square dancing.
Around 1962, they decided to change from Jerseys to beef cattle. May insisted the beef cattle be Black Angus. Over time, they raised several award-winning animals and spent many hours each year planning and researching which bulls to breed their cows to in order to improve the herd.
Every summer, they traveled the fair circuit, showing their cattle until they were in their 80s and the limitations of health and aging no longer permitted it. She always missed going to the fairs, said "it gets in your blood."
The fair circuit included Lynden, Monroe, Puyallup and several county fairs. The highlight of the year was showing their cattle at the Jefferson County Fair, where they would enjoy visiting with friends who would drop by to see them.
They strongly supported the county fair, where Wally scouted for entertainment acts and once served as board president. Like the square dancing, exhibiting at these fairs was a source of new friendships from all over the Northwest.
May came to appreciate a good horse, and about this time, they would go to the horse auction at Hermiston, Oregon, where they bought weanling quarter horses, horses Wally and their daughters enjoyed showing and trail riding. May did everything with the horses except ride them.
May excelled at what might be called domestic arts. In addition to sewing, she crocheted and knitted. No one really knows how many quilts she made for grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the babies of friends.
When she baked bread, the first loaf would disappear into some crumbs on the cutting board even before it had cooled. Someone once referred to its healing properties.
Legend has it that she sealed the deal with Wally with a wild blackberry pie. Her annual garden even included tomatoes that flourished in this not-so-friendly climate. She canned fruit from the apple, pear, cherry and plum trees that had been planted on the farm long before she lived there.
She loved movies and would often take the family to the Uptown Theatre on Sunday evenings and Christmas Day. Her favorite was always "Gone With the Wind."
May and Wally were proud of their grandchildren and could be seen watching them at the region's Junior Angus shows or sitting in the stands at their football, basketball and baseball games. They loved hearing about the activities of the grandchildren who did not live close by. She would probably most want to be remembered for her powerful marriage to Wally and the six children they reared.
May belonged to the American Quarter Horse Association, American Angus Association, Western States Angus Association, Western Washington Angus Association and Community United Methodist Church. She had a strong faith and loved her church. In the years following Wally's death, she especially found comfort and friendship in the church community.
She is survived by her six children, Diane Westergaard of Seattle, Larry (Nancy) Westergaard of Yelm, Washington, Mark (Sherry) Westergaard of Monroe, Washington, and Julie (Chuck) Boggs, Ellen (Doug) Anglin and Leslie (John) Freitas, all of Chimacum; niece Molly Linderoth of Everett, Washington; 12 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by husband, Wally; and sister Cynthia Richardson.
A memorial service will be at Community United Methodist Church at 130 Church Lane, Port Hadlock, on Saturday, March 9, at 1 p.m., followed by a celebration-of-life potluck at the Chimacum High School Commons, 91 West Valley Road, Chimacum.
Memorial contributions can be made to Community United Methodist Church, 130 Church Lane, Port Hadlock, WA 98339.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Mar. 6, 2013