A century of memories

I thought you might be interested in hearing from a 100-year-old alumnus of the University who attended the school from 1936 through 1943.

I graduated from Skykomish High School in 1936 as valedictorian and received a one semester scholarship at Washington State University, which was Washington State College at that time with 3,500 students, entitling me to housing in Waller Hall and dining at the Commons. Now I understand the goal is 40,000 students. I majored in geology under Harold E. Culver, head of the department, mineralogist and structural geologist Charles E. Campbell, and paleontologist Ralph L. Lupher.

Those were the days of baseball coach Buck Bailey, basketball coach Jack Friel, quarterback Bill Sewell, wintertime ice skating in a flooded field down by the Fieldhouse, 7 a.m. ROTC, Big W paddle squad out chasing freshmen to buy green beanie hats to benefit sports. As a graduate student, I looked so young I was chased by the paddle squad, and soon learned it was useless to argue, would run into the nearest building, up the stairs, down the other side and back to the street.

I graduated in 1941 with a BS in geology and entered the graduate school with my new wife Frances Nelson Valentine. We attended school together while I worked on my master’s degree and she in biology.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, draft boards were set up and I was classified 1-A, which meant instantly available for service. I received one deferment to complete my master’s degree and my teaching fellowship. During basic training at Camp Roberts California, I volunteered for the 10th Mountain Division and trained at Camp Hale Colorado, briefly in Houston Texas, and on to the staging area at Pisa, Italy.

The Germans were entrenched on Riva Ridge, a 2,000-foot cliff looking down the throats of the Allies. We scaled the cliff in February 1943 and drove the Nazis off the ridge and Mount Belvedere. With the end of the war in Europe in June 1945 I was placed in the 55th Engineering Division and put on a troop ship through the Panama Canal to the Philippines, where, as we entered Manila in August, we watched an American destroyer sink a Japanese submarine. We got news over the loudspeaker that atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My unit entered Japan with the 101st Airborne, after the surrender to MacArthur, and disarmed the Japanese.

I returned home in January 1946 to the port in Tacoma Washington and my wife was waiting on the dock, where i was lowered by my buddies and took her in my arms and kissed her. The Captain called me to quarters because I had broken quarantine but after a lecture on the seriousness of my act, he excused me. We raised two children had two Great granddaughters. Spent 31 years with the Shell Oil Company. Moved often Los Angeles, Houston, and Olympia. Upon the death of my wife on January 4 2005, I published four books, Country Bumpkin, an autobiography, Josie’s Girl, a biography of my wife, The Robin Family, a book written by my wife for a class at Washington State, and Grandpa’s Gizmos & Gadgets. I spent three years at my home in Olympia but began to wonder “Is independence more important than feminine companionship”? At a party next door to my son in 2008 I was introduced to Ilene Tamlyn and one day I invited her to dinner at Stanford’s Restaurant after dinner she went to the ladies room and when she came out said “I didn’t put on any lipstick because I thought you might want to kiss me” So I did. I ask her what kind of a relationship she wanted and she said a romantic one but no Marriage I don’t want to mix our finances, so it was settled, and I spent eight years with her until her health issues became too much for me and she was place in assisted living at the Springs at Carman Oaks. I am Also living at the Springs but in the independent living section. I have many friends here and one, Jim Baker, is a WSU graduate, as are his four sons.

Grant M. Valentine ’41, ’43 MS Geol.

Lake Oswego, Oregon


Winter memories

What do you remember about wintry days and nights at Washington State? Send us your favorite memories from when you attended in Pullman, Spokane, Vancouver, Everett, or Tri-Cities, in 300 words or less. We’ll print our favorite story in the Winter 2019 issue (and send a small WSU gift to the writer), and post all stories on the magazine’s website.

Send us your winter story through our web form. You can also send us a letter.



In our feature story “How may we help you?” in the Summer 2019 print issue, we stated that Seattle Central Library and its branches have about 4,000 visitors each day. That number is for Seattle Central Library alone.