Thursday, July 29, 2010
Nov. 28, 1910 - July 26, 2010
Blanche Herron Chambers, 99, passed away at her home, Monday, July 26, 2010, leaving her family and many friends with wonderful memories. Blanche was a gracious and endearing lady, a leader, and a woman ahead of her time, known and loved throughout the State through her involvement in fraternal organizations.
Born in Gretna, Virginia, Nov. 28, 1910, to C.C. (Charlie) Keatts and his beloved wife, Blanche Monroe Keatts, who died when little Blanche was just 6 weeks old. Charlie brought his little 3-month-old baby out to Pomeroy, by train, in March 1911. Her aunt cared for and kept her for the first four years until her father could get established in farming. Little Blanche then lived with her father, his brother, John, and wife, and her Aunt Lucye who had come west to keep house for her brothers. Lucye had taught school in Virginia and was very well qualified to supplement little Blanche's country school learning. Blanche later boarded in town with the Patterson family through most of high school, going to the ranch on weekends. She had two wonderful lifelong friends, Marguerite Williams and Elizabeth Houser, who were like sisters to her.
Following graduation from Pomeroy High School in 1928, she attended Washington State College, was a member of Delta Zeta sorority, and graduated in 1932 with a degree in music.
She passionately loved her alma mater and prized her esteemed position as the "oldest living WSU grad." After graduation, Blanche worked in Spokane where she met H.R. "Pat" Herron; they were married Sept. 17, 1933, at the Pomeroy Methodist Church. A son, Tom Pat, was born in Spokane and a daughter, Virginia Gail, was born in Pomeroy when Pat returned to work at the Pataha Flouring Mill.
Blanche joined the Order of the Eastern Star in 1943, really loving and growing through her lodge work. She was a Past Matron of Mystic Chapter No. 10 in Pomeroy and began receiving state appointments in 1952. She then was elected on the state level, ultimately serving as Worthy Grand Matron of the state of Washington in 1959-60. She and Pat traveled the state, visiting each of the 240 chapters. When weather precluded driving, she rode the bus to Seattle, many times all-night trips. Blanche also was the first non-member to start a chapter of PEO, Chapter FN, in Pomeroy. She was initiated and installed as their first president, still finding time for many civic activities and clubs. She was a member of Phyla Nova and St. Peter's Episcopal Church where she played the organ and was active in the Guild. She supported her children in all school and music endeavors, driving them to Pullman and Lewiston for music lessons each week. Blanche also taught piano lessons in Pomeroy and was an accomplished seamstress.
After Pat's death, Blanche moved to Spokane in 1973. She proudly built her own life of organizations and community service in Spokane, serving as a Past Queen of El Karnak No. 6 Daughters of the Nile. She married her longtime friend Walden Chambers, in 1990, followed by nine wonderful years together before Wally's death. It was with a heavy heart she left her beloved Spokane after 30 years to be near her family in Walla Walla. As a family friend lovingly said: "Blanche will never die ~ she will just start a new chapter in heaven!"
Blanche was preceded in death by her father; her aunts who helped raise her, Lucye Keatts and Dollie Coleman "Mama" Bunch; her beloved husband, Pat Herron; and her second husband, G. Walden Chambers. She is survived by son, Tom Pat Herron, of College Place; daughter, Virginia Gail McKibben (Norm) of Walla Walla; and eight prized grandchildren: Elaine Patrice Adams (Tom), Shane Monroe McKibben (Michelle), Elizabeth Christine Rodriguez (Juan), Mary Sophia Larsen (Randall), Lisa McKibben Bird (Steve), Laurie McKibben Eide (Bjorn), Eric McKibben (Jeanette) and Elizabeth Valentino (Peter), plus fourteen great-grandchildren. Having grown up an only child, Blanche was so proud of this big family.
The family suggests memorial contributions to the Shriners Hospital for Children, the WSU Department of Music, or to the Order of the Eastern Star Estarl Fund through the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder St., Walla Walla, WA 99362.
A celebration of Blanche's life will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Walla Walla at 1 p.m., Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. Burial services will be at the Pomeroy City Cemetery at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010; a buffet lunch and social gathering will follow these services at the St. Peters Episcopal Church Parish Hall in Pomeroy.