“Smile, say yes and do what you damn well please.”

When I was editing obituary photos at the Seattle Times, the words written by families that came across my desk would always strike me – some sad, some touching, but out of the thousands I processed during my tenure there was one that I found incredibly inspiring, not just personally but also historically….so much so, in fact, that when it went to print I clipped it and kept it pinned in my cube up until I was laid off over a year later. I memorized her life’s motto and still pass on to this day. Actually, noticing her quote on the FB page of a certain bartender friend of mine is what made me think to search for her obituary…I had a very surreal moment of, “I know that quote…I use that all the time-HEY!!”

So, thanks to The Ballard News Tribune from 2008 (she died only weeks before her 100th birthday) I can share her with all of you.

Mildred Rhind

Mildred Ahrenius Rhind

1909 – 2008

Mildred Ahrenius Rhind passed away peacefully at Vashon Community Care Center on June 25, 2008 after a very long, full life and a short final illness. Mildred was born in 1909 and lived most of her life in West Seattle. Her life reflects the changing role of women in the 20th century. In the 1920s she was a flapper; she danced the Charleston on roller skates for a Pathe newsreel and drank bathtub gin. Mildred attended West Seattle High School (Class of 1927) and shortly thereafter started her long career with the Union Pacific Railroad. She began as a switchboard operator and ended as a ticket agent at the downtown Seattle office when she retired in 1969. Following her retirement from the Union Pacific, Mildred had a second career working part-time for Washington Mutual Savings Bank in the school savings department. Throughout the Great Depression, she hid her first marriage to avoid a railroad policy of not hiring married women. After WWII, she refused to give up her job to accommodate veterans returning to the workforce.

In 1950 Mildred married the great love of her life, Orville Horace (Bill) Rhind. In the 1950s, she had her first and only child and continued her career so she and husband and son could have a duel income and enjoy boating. Mildred and Bill’s marriage lasted until his death in 1970. Over the years she was a member of Eastern Star, Peace Lutheran Church, Tyee Yacht Club, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Swedish Club and the West Seattle Garden Club. Mildred is survived by her son, William Rhind (partner, John Coleman) her brothers Oliver Ahrenius (Evelyn), Chuck Ahrenius (Joan) and many nieces and nephews. Her motto in life “Smile, say yes and do what you damn well please” served her well up until the very end. Mildred will be greatly missed. A private family memorial service will be held at a later date. Remembrances may be made to your favorite charity. Please sign the online guestbook at http://www.islandfuneral.com

Published July 2, 2008 in the West Seattle Herald.

Voulez-voulez-vous share and enjoy.

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