The Malms of Ohop Valley

Lena & John Malm, 1930
Lena & John Malm, 1930

I never met Lena and John Malm, but I feel like I’ve known them all my life. My grandparents, Louie and Anna Mettler,  purchased their dairy in Ohop Valley the 40s. My folks, Louie and Kathy Mettler, built on the land in the early 1960s and the dairy continued into the 70s. Today my folks raise organic beef there.

I grew up on the same fields the Malms farmed and today I live there too. In fact, today I was down in the valley checking on a new born calf.  Although today the Pruitt family lives in the original Malm home, I looked up from the valley, next to the cow and calf, knowing that the Malms, my grandparents, my parents and myself have all shared this same experience in this same spot.

Another thing that makes me feel close to Lena and John is that were were both married in Ohop Valley — although almost 100 years apart. They were married in 1905, and Chris and I were married in 2002.

I wish I’d met them, but in a way I feel like I have.

Below is the article that ran in the Dispatch in 1955 when they celebrated their 50th Anniversary. (I especially like they had the phonograph there that played music at their wedding.)

Malm 50th Wedding Anniversary from the Dispatch
Malm 50th Wedding Anniversary from the Dispatch

“More than 160 friends and relatives gathered at the social hall of the Community Methodist Church to offer congratulations and to join in celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. John Malm on Wednesday afternoon, December 28 [1955].

Gold was the predominant theme in the decorations. A ceterpiece of gold chrysanthemums graced the serving table. Baskets of foliage highlighted by gold flowers and a mantel arrangement of forest greens accented by large gold candles added to the holiday air.

The same phonograph that furnished music for the wedding in 1905 provided several of the same tunes to the delight of the younger set. When they were not receiving, the honor couple occupied the same love seat that helped furnish their first home in Ohop Valley. 

Wedding Crown
Mrs. Malm wore a hand wrought gold filigree wedding crown provided by a friend for this special occassion. Mr. Malm wore a matching boutonneie of the same design. The crown was a copy of the original Geramn wedding gown.

Lena Malm as a young girl
Lena Malm as a young girl

Pouring for the occasion were Mrs. Andrew Anderson of Tacoma and Mrs. Guerney Van Eaton of Sliver Lake, assisted by Mr. Ethel Jacobson. The wedding cake was served by Mrs. Harry Hicks of Everette, cousin of the bride, and Miss Charlotte Kjelstad had charge of the guest book.

A program of songs and music furnished entertainment for the afternoon. Dick Taylor sang “”He” and “Take My Hand” accompanied by Mrs. Jonas (Helen) Asplund. Carolyn Burwash played the flute, including selections of Scandinavian music, also accompanied by Mrs. Asplund. Maxine Games sang “Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet,” accompanied by Mrs. Cyrus Jensen. Harriet Ittner of Seattle sang “Silver Threads Among the Gold”. The Rev. J. W. Reynolds offered a few appropriate remarks.

Messages Received
Guests from out-of-state were Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Lake from Eugene, Ore., who had been friends of the Malms during the years they lived in Eatoville. Among the message of congratulations received was a telegram from Mrs. Norman J. Bruen of Wading River, N.Y., who lived here many years ago when her husband was the first cashier of the Eatonville State Bank, and Mrs. George Ingersoll, widow of the early day Eatonville merchant, now living in Tacoma, tlepehoned them she was unable to be present at the party.

Lena's first boat ride at Seal Rock in 1939
Lena's first boat ride at Seal Rock in 1939

Arrangements for the festivities were made by Mrs. James Carlson, sister of Mrs. Malm, and her two daughters, Mrs. Steve Packer of Eatonville and Mrs. Don Journey of Spokane. 

Photos courtesy of Steve Burwash.

Click on images to enlarge.

2 responses to “The Malms of Ohop Valley”

  1. I really like the last picture. The little cabins right on the beach, It would be cool if there were still places like that. I really like that era, seemed like alot simpler life back then. I remember back in the 50’s and 60′ when people would camp at the Clearlake resort during the summer, some in tents, some in camp trailers. Fishing, and swimming, and water skiing.


    • You should take a trip to Norway. There are still lakes with a couple homes of them and you can camp around places that aren’t near as built up. 🙂


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