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Ethel Gould assisted refugees, taught school

BY: Carole Beers; Seattle Times staff reporter - August 18, 2000, Friday

Ethel Eveline Beieler Gould, a teacher who founded Sno-Valley Senior Center and helped Hmong refugees, had a heart as big as the wheat fields of her native Lincoln County.

Neighbors treated her as a down-to-earth angel who was counted on to counsel young people, bake treats for gatherings or stitch something pretty for bazaars.

The Hmong, whom she helped introduce to the community when they arrived from Southeast Asia 30 years ago, considered her a grandmother, says her daughter.

"When I told them about her passing, they fell apart," said Marjorie Qualls of Bellevue. "She gave them a start. They brought her vegetables and strawflowers from their gardens. She tutored their kids through school. She taught people how to make a bed, bake a cake and get a doctor's appointment."

Mrs. Gould died Sunday (Aug. 13) after a fall. She was 89.

Born on the family wheat farm in Davenport, Mrs. Gould reigned as May Day Queen of Davenport High School, from which she graduated in 1929.

She worked her way through what is now Eastern Washington University, where she served as president of the College Women's Club and volunteered with the Tawanka service group.

Armed with her normal-school diploma, she taught at Carnation Grade School. She upgraded her teaching credentials over the years.

In 1935, she married Albert Gould. They celebrated 60 years of marriage in 1995, shortly before Mr. Gould died.

Mrs. Gould focused on family when her daughters were young. She later upgraded her teaching certificate and taught at Fall City Elementary School and Redmond elementary schools. She retired in 1973.

"When we were kids, she was a 4-H leader and taught Sunday school," said her daughter.

The Sno-Valley Senior Center in Carnation, evolved from her hobbies. Having seen her parents with little to do after they retired, Mrs. Gould started a hobby club for seniors, which in 1975 became the senior center.

In 1977, she organized the Lower Snoqualmie Valley chapter of the American Association of University Women.

When her church sponsored a Hmong refugee family in 1979, Mrs. Gould took charge. She helped them acclimate to life in America. She also helped her neighbors acclimate to the Hmong.

In 1983, President Reagan honored Mrs. Gould with a President's Volunteer Action Award Citation for more than 9,000 hours of volunteer work with the Sno-Valley Senior Center and Hmong families.

"When she retired, she really kicked into high gear on her art, community service, and especially her genealogy," said her daughter.

Mrs. Gould recently published three hardback volumes on her family lines and traced her ancestry to eight U.S. presidents.

Aside from Qualls, her survivors include daughter Marie Wolslegel, Toledo, Lewis County; a sister, Theresa Miles, Spokane; six grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and five great-great grandchildren.

Services are at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Tolt Congregational United Church of Christ, 4851 Tolt Ave., Carnation.

Donations may go to the church, P.O. Box 447, Carnation, WA 98014; to Sno-Valley Senior Center, P.O. Box 96, Carnation, WA 98014; or to Eastside Fire and Rescue, 175 Newport Way N.W., Issaquah, WA 98027.

Carole Beers' e-mail address is cbeers@seattletimes.com.