December 24, 1929 - March 8, 2022
Alene Faith Gillingham Schwab died March 8, 2022, in Royal City, WA at her daughter’s home. Services will be Saturday, March 12, 2022 at 10 a.m. at the Bethel Lutheran Church, 102 N 2nd St, in Coulee City, WA. Burial to follow at the Stratford Cemetery, beside her husband Clarence and son Carlton. Following interment, there will be a potluck luncheon at Our Saviors Lutheran Church at 471 Nat Washington Way, Ephrata, WA. Alene was born December 24, 1929 at the family farm in Springdale, WA. The North Park Addition of Springdale was platted by her grandfather, John Web Gillingham, who was a blacksmith. Alene was delivered by her father, Hubert Byron (H.B.) Gillingham, to her mother Rachel Linden Gillingham. The 6th of 7 children, the story goes that Rachel was plumb run out of names, looked out a window and saw Alene. What she was seeing was the last of the letters of Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho. Rachel was 36 years old and three years earlier had heard the name of Jesus for the first time. She believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, which changed the trajectory of the family, and she gave Alene the middle name of Faith. Through a stroke of fate, her father sold the farm just prior to the crash of 1929 and had the money in hand and not in the bank. Property prices dropped and H.B. began buying property, property, and more property. In 1936 he moved his family to Spokane to the home on 7th Street. Alene was 6-7 years old. In 1939 the family moved onto East Sprague where they lived for 4 years until 1942. In Spokane, Alene began violin lessons and played in the Junior Spokane Symphony. She says she mostly just listened to the beauty of the music! Alene attended Spokane schools including Lewis & Clark High School until H.B. purchased the Circle Bar Ranch in Wilson Creek, WA in 1945. The family moved there and she went to Wilson Creek High School. She met Clarence Schwab. Then, Grama Rachel was sick of farm life and loaded up the younger children and moved back to Spokane to the Hazelwood Route 1 House. Alene was 16. Clarence drove to Spokane and asked for her hand in marriage. Alene thought her parents would say no, but they said yes. They were married at the Hazelwood House on October 3, 1946. Mom continued high school in Wilson Creek and graduated in May of 1947 as the class salutatorian. Their wedding cottage was without electricity resulting in the use of kerosene lamps and a flat-iron, but not for long. Clarence and his father (Fred Schwab) brought power to the cottage. Clarence farmed 3 years north of Wilson Creek. Their first child, Linda, was born August 1947. Hartline was their next home, and Leslie was born on September 1950. In 1952, they moved to Dayton, Washington. There, Alene began to study the Bible in diligence, and the family joined the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. She also sold life insurance for a short time but came to the conclusion that if you needed it, you couldn’t afford it; and if you could afford it, you didn’t need it. Another girl was born in February of 1954, Lilli. In 1959, the family moved again, this time back to Springdale on Hunter’s Road, 8 miles out of the city. Alene always had a vision for fixing up houses and properties, and making a house a home. The deer were a discouragement as they ate everything she planted. She also decided we would live a true farmer’s life with pigs, chickens, and milk cows in addition to the horses. One day when Dad had been farming all day, she told Linda and Leslie to bring the two milk cows, Betsy and Sue Boss, into the stanches to be ready to milk. We protested, “but Betsy and Sue Boss are mean,” but we were instructed to get out there and not be ‘city girls’. After trying and meeting resistance, we returned and told Mother… “I’ll show you how to do it,” she said and out she went for a demonstration. Immediately, Sue Boss put her head down in a charging fashion, and Mom declared, “Dad can do it when he gets home!” Boy cousins would come to the farm in the summer to work and Mom cooked for all. Mom belonged to a book club that sent monthly books, and she set the example of being a voracious reader. She also did crossword puzzles daily and built up a very substantial vocabulary which she used all the time in addition to the quotation of Bible verses. One summer when we declared boredom, she set us about collecting plant and flower specimens to identify with common and Latin names and to preserve by pressing. Finally, a baby boy, Carlton was born in March of 1961. Mom often took us to Loon Lake to swim in the summer months. In December of 1964, the family moved to Soap Lake where Rachel was born. The St. Francis Apartments were taken in trade for the farm, and Alene primarily managed it while Dad farmed. Initially, Dad cut a door between two 1 -bedroom apartments for the burgeoning family of 7 before remodeling two units into a 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment. The grounds were ½ a city block. Mother called her flock, us, by a whistle. She became involved in PTA, the Republican Women’s Club, played bridge with girlfriends, was a Precinct Committee Officer for years, attended Christian Women’s Club and was a full-time mother. Only a couple blocks from the lake, she took us swimming quite often. She also for a short time belonged to a BETA Club. Their by-laws required to be voted on for membership. After being accepted, she felt uncomfortable saying that she already belonged to the most exclusive club in the world, the church, and Jesus said, “whosoever will, may come.” She quit BETA. When Leslie completed confirmation in the Lutheran church, the day of the ceremony, she wanted to make clear that joining a church, or completing church classes, did not make you a Christian; that only through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection could you pass from death to life. After selling the apartments, the family, minus the two elder married daughters, moved to Grant Orchards, Soap Lake in Dec. of 1968 to the farm. Lilli was married there in 1972. Rachel remembers that one of the young heifers got pregnant from the neighbor’s bull, and had to have a C-section. “I’ll never forget it because Mom let the calf in the house; it was a little red bull. Carl and I would bottle feed him in the kitchen.” Now if you knew Mother, you know why that was so unforgettable! She wasn’t keen on animals in the house! One day in 1973, Mom went for a drive, and came home having bought the Coulee City Steamboat Rock Restaurant. Don and Linda purchased the Restaurant from her and operated it for 42 years. In 1975, Rachel, a fourth grader, was with mom and dad when they looked at the shambled wreck of the Stratford school house. Rachel relates, “we had been all through the house and were looking at the outbuildings. We were standing outside by the horse barn and Mom said, “l’ll write you a check for $13,000 right now, and the man said “SOLD!” Mom got out her wallet and Dad stood there with his jaw open!” After six months of 7 day a week remodeling—rewiring, replumbing, replastering and repainting, this historic building became home for over 30 years, and the center of our huge family get-togethers. Mom hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners every year, and all the grandchildren and many of the great grandchildren have memories of sliding down the bannisters, climbing trees, & playing in Mom and Dad’s gigantic bedroom. The historic building was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. While at Stratford, Mother began to play the violin again, and played in the Big Bend annual theatre productions at least two years. One year she stayed up late every night gleaning jokes she liked from late night television, and then did a Jack Benny style comedy show for the Royal City Community Days talent show. She began a news sheet for the town of Stratford, became a real estate agent for a period of time, and also opened Ye Old Antique Shop in Royal City. She also cared for her mother for the last year of her life. Also, while at Stratford, Mother experienced probably the most sorrowful time of her life when Carl died in 1994 and then Lilli in 2000. She grieved for years. When Dad got sick, mother was a stalwart nurse. Loyal, reliable, and hardworking, mom nursed Dad two years after the doctors said he would be gone in two weeks. After Clarence’s death in 2007, Alene remained in Stratford in another location, and had a beautiful well-kept yard. In 2017 she moved to live with Rachel and Andrew. Still owning a car, but with license revoked, Alene took off one day. Rachel called the police for a silver alert, but they never caught her. We were starting to get a little concerned about finding her when Laura called. A friend reported to her that a “little old lady” had done the Tim Conway shuffle across the State highway in Ephrata and came into her real estate office wanting to buy a house. After several house showings, and a visit to a local bank, she then proceeded to drive to Coulee City to Linda’s where she, reportedly, was quite pleased with her excursion! At the beginning of the pandemic, we began a two-week rotation between the sisters. Admittedly, this was difficult at times. Sometimes, though, some sweet things happened. She loved to sing and even with dementia, knew all the words to the “Little Church in the Vale”. It brought to mind all the songs she sang us growing up. “Good Morning to You”, “Zippity-do-dah”, “Que Sera’”….. Rachel, in November, heard Mom praying. Difficult to understand, she could only hear –“Jesus, you are so good”. Mom had a pretty sharp tongue and knew how to hurt you with it. Maybe one of you have been the recipient of that action. Not a one of us is worthy to be saved. Jesus came for the ones who admit that they are sick. The promise is that forgiveness of sins is given to those who believe that He died for their sins, was buried and rose again. On December 19, Mom was with me. Our church had a Christmas program, so I decided to take Mom with us rather than switch off with my husband for services. I thought she’d enjoy the music. On the way home, she said, “That was something!” I asked her if she liked it to which she replied, “I liked it.” Gary then shared with me that during one of the skits about who was the most important person of Christmas, Mom did this almost ‘Christmas miracle’. One of the families did this game show like skit with the UPS man, Santa, the Salvation Army bell ringer, and a mother as candidates for the most important person at Christmas. When it was time to vote, a small child interrupted and said, “I think you forget someone—Jesus is the most important person at Christmas.” The game show host said, “well, we’ll let the audience decide – raise your hand if you agree that Jesus is the most important person at Christmas!” And then someone shouted, “Don’t just raise your hand – stand up!” And Gary said Mom tried to stand up! And this is a woman that couldn’t even bear weight! Alene was preceded in death by her parents: H.B. and Rachel Gillingham; her siblings, Byron Gillingham, John Gillingham, June Graybill, Esther Ginger, Joyce Scrima; her husband of 61 years: Clarence Schwab. Her son: Carlton Clarence, and a daughter, Lilli May (Robbin) Ball. Alene is survived by a brother, Charles Gillingham, Spokane, Wa. Her children: Linda (Don) Rushton, Coulee City; Leslie (Gary) Fanning, Royal City, Rachel (Andrew) Perkins, Thorp, Wa. And grandchildren: Bryan (Jackie) Rushton, Murray (Shelly) Rushton, both of Coulee City; Lisa (James) Smith, Ellensburg; Jared (Jeanna) Rushton, Ephrata, Wa.; Benjamin (Hollie) Fanning, Joshua (Jennifer) Fanning, Royal City; Andrea (Travis) Visker, Warden; Matthew (Elaina) Ball, Yakima; Heather (Bert) Holman, Chris (Rachel) Ball, Derek (Jennifer) Ball, Jasmine (Nic) Hansen, all of Moses Lake. Elijah (Ashley) Perkins, Royal City; Sarah (Jeremy) Vasquez, Ephrata; Joseph (Myra) Perkins, Lake Stevens; Laura (Joshua) Mathis, Moses Lake. 51 great grandchildren: Mikayla & Whitley Rushton, Skyler, Sophia, & Jorjanna Smith; Lottie, Gemma, & Dalton Rushton, Hannah, Jacob, & Elizabeth Fanning, Stanton (Carolina), McLain (Anahi) & Broderick Fanning, Wyatt, Wade, Tyson & Travis Jr Visker; Sadie (Jerret) Tucker, Wesley Ball, Lilli, Evka, & Ella Ball, & Blake Driesen; Keeghan (Nic) Dummer, Zander, McKenna, Jaxon Holman; Paige, Seth, Phoebe Ball; Carter & Hollyanne Ball; Chloe, Pieper, Kiara, & Greyson Hanson; Luke, Ruth & Leah Perkins; Cooper, Addison, Rylie Vasquez; Andrew, Camila, Joseph, & Charlotte Perkins; James, John, Mollie, & Martin Mathis. Two great great grandchildren: Morgan Dummer & Sawyer Tucker and also many nieces and nephews. We’ll see you in heaven Mom!!
Alene Faith Gillingham Schwab died March 8, 2022, in Royal City, WA at her daughter’s home. Services will be Saturday, March 12, 2022 at 10 a.m. at the Bethel Lutheran Church, 102 N 2nd St, in Coulee City, WA. Burial to follow at the... View Obituary & Service Information
Obituary & Service
Alene Faith Gillingham Schwab died March 8, 2022, in Royal City,...View More
Photos & Videos
Share and view memories of Alene...View Photos & Videos
Add family, history, photos and more...Visit The Family Tree