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BLANCHE ADAMS KING (1917-2016) Blanche Adams King was born Oct. 27, 1917 in Spokane, Washington. She passed away on Sept. 12, 2016 in Pullman Regional Hospital, Pullman, Washington, after illness that began in July 2015. She had resided in Avalon Care Center in Pullman since February 8, 2016. Blanche was the only surviving child of Matthew Eugene Adams (1871-1943), a pioneer homesteader north of Connell, Washington, and his wife Edna (Yeaman) Adams (1886-1972), a former schoolteacher and later Pullman resident starting in 1943. Both of Blanche's parents were from Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Her grandfather, James M. Adams (1844-1923), whom she remembered, served in the Civil War, and brought the Adamses west in 1897 to the Ritzville, Washington area. Blanche grew up on her parents' dryland wheat ranch in northern Franklin County, Washington, where she helped cook for harvest crews starting when she was a girl. She graduated from Connell High School in 1936 as valedictorian. That fall, she came to Pullman to attend Washington State College and fell in love with the town, spending most of the next 80 years there. She graduated from WSC in 1942 with a degree in Home Economics. That fall, she was hired to teach Home Economics in the Toppenish, Washington high school. Her teaching was cut short after a few months when her father became ill. She resigned to return to the ranch and assist her mother in caring for him and running the farm. Her mother, not being able to drive, was otherwise stranded. After her father died in August 1943, her mother wanted Blanche to stay on the ranch with her. Yet Blanche found the place uninviting and boring having begun a much more exciting life in Pullman and elsewhere. No way would she stay. Instead, her mother left the ranch and moved to Pullman where Blanche had decided to return to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Education and Master's degree in Home Economics, which she did in 1946. Earlier, in the later 1930s at Washington State College, Blanche met her future husband, Myron King, the son in a farm family whose father, Ervin King, once served as the State's Grange Master. They later re-met in the early 1940s and were married August 19, 1945 in Gulfport, Mississippi as World War II was ending. Myron was serving in the U.S. Air Force at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi at that time. Earlier, he had worked in Alaska during construction of the Alaska Highway in 1943, and later in 1944 on additional wartime work out on the Aleutians. After the war, they settled in Pullman and had two sons, Thomas and Robert. On May 3, 1949, Blanche was widowed and she and her two small children lived in Pullman on Harvey Road with her mother who died in 1972. In the fall of 1953, Blanche resumed her teaching career, and for the next 29 years until retirement in 1982, was a Home Economics instructor at Pullman High School where she taught sewing. She was also an instructor at the same time of student teachers for Washington State University in Pullman, with WSU students being observers in her classes. Beginning in 1950, a year after her husband died, Blanche's lifelong passion for travel led to yearly car trips. For nearly two decades, she drove her mother and sons not only to Virginia to visit relatives, but also to do site-seeing in all 48 contiguous states. In 1964 and 1965, for her first international trips, Blanche took her sons to the Near East, northern Africa, and Europe. That only whetted her appetite for more international travel and over the next fifty years she took countless journeys to well over 120 countries with little of the world left unseen. Probably her favorite place was Great Britain as she had a love of British history. Blanche was in her early 90s when she traveled to Antarctica and Greenland, plus went on a Big Game tour in Africa. Her last overseas trip was in May 2015 to see her beloved daughter-in-law, Kay King, after her older son, Thomas' death January 21, 2015 at his and Kay's home in Kingsford (greater Sydney), Australia. Thomas was also a worldwide traveler and had his own business as a travel writer and author of several books. At age 95, Blanche wrote her own book: "Remembering Connell, Washington in the 1920s and 1930s." At the time of her death she had become the town's oldest former resident and last-surviving child of a homesteader from the early 1900s. Blanche was a passionate reader, and subscribed to over 50 magazines. Her final trip was in June-July 2015 (flying by herself) to visit her younger son Robert, in Anchorage, Alaska. She had otherwise driven to Alaska 31 times to visit him, lastly in 2013 when she was 95. She was planning more trips, including to the next Yeaman Family Reunion in Danville, Virginia, when illness overtook her in later July 2015. After nearly 14 month of courageously and optimistically battling declining health, she passed away peacefully on Sept. 12, 2016. She will be buried beside her husband along with cremains of her older son Thomas in the Pullman, Washington Cemetery. Her funeral will be held at the Kimball Funeral Home, 905 South Grand, Pullman, Washington, on Sept. 19, 2016 at 11:00 am. Blanche was a member of the Washington State Home Economics Association, and held life memberships in the National Education Association and American Home Economics Association. She also belonged to Delta Kappa Gamma, Omicron Nu, and AAUW. Additionally, Blanche belonged to several historical societies and was a member of Simpson United Methodist Church in Pullman. Besides her parents and son Thomas, she was predeceased by her step-daughter, Margo (King) Bloom (1941-2012) of Richland, Washington. Survivors include her son, Robert King, a federal archaeologist and historian in Anchorage; daughter-in-law, Kay King, Kingsford, New South Wales, Australia; and many hundreds if not thousands of relatives, friends, and former students throughout the world, including special cousins Kenneth & Judy Yeaman of Danville, Virginia; and special friends, Everett & Gloria Martin and Betty Staples of Pullman, Washington. Memorials in Blanche's name would be welcomed by the Connell Heritage Museum, P.O. Box 1185, 350 West Adams Street, Connell, Washington 99326.
Funeral Home
Kimball Funeral Home
905 S Grand Ave
Pullman, WA 99163
(509) 334-3303
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Published in Tri-City Herald on Sept. 16, 2016
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