Grand Marshals

Allow me to tell you a story (plagiarized from my Mom.  Thanks, Mom!).  It’s a short, concise history of my grandparents and their contributions to the community that I’m from.  They served as Grand Marshals in the Toledo Summer Festival parade this last weekend.  Grandpa….gregarious…in his element.  Grandma…reserved…would have preferred to have sat on the sidewalk with the rest of us watching the parade rather than participating in the parade.

As I lifted my camera to take their photo (challenging as they were riding in a Honda Fit because someone apparently forgot to reserve the convertible) I found myself tearing up. With pride.  With love.  What an honor it is to be their grandchild.  I am who I am in large part because of them.  They are…simply amazing.  Here is their abbreviated story:

Al arrived in Toledo from Kansas in 1936 when he was 9 years old.  He met Oregon-born Oleta in 1940 while attending Toledo High School.  They both graduated from Toledo High in 1944.

Grand Marshals, wishingmylifeaway.com

After Al spent a couple of years in the Navy, he returned and married Oleta on January 16, 1947 at the Toledo Methodist Church.  They will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary this coming January 2017.

Al worked for Lorne Dixon Motors until 1958 when he became partners with Crosno, a long-time insurance man.  They became Crosno & Jones Insurance.  Al’s son-in-law, Jim (my Dad), joined the business in 1977.  In 1986 Al retired and his daughter JAnn and son-in-law Jim purchased the business.

Grand Marshals, wishingmylifeaway.com

Oleta worked for a time for CP Moore and then stayed home to raise their 4 children, who also all graduated from Toledo High School.

Al has been very active in the community and is still very supportive of all things Toledo. He has been Chairman of the Port of Toledo and active with the County Commissioners. He worked closely with Mike Miller in the acquisitions of land for many county parks including Elks City, Canyon, Morgan and Strome.

Grand Marshals, wishingmylifeaway.com

Al was also active in the Toledo Chamber of Commerce, Lions, Jaycees and Elks to name just a few.  He was named both Toledo Junior and Senior Citizen of the Year and has received numerous other awards including Super Senior at the Lincoln County Fair.

Oleta is active in Beta Sigma Phi and Lady Elks.  She has been named both Lincoln County and Oregon State Woman of the Year for Beta Sigma Phi.  She was a stay-at-home mom but volunteered her time with the Miss Lincoln County Pageant, the PTA, Scout leader as well as other activities.

Grand Marshals, wishingmylifeaway.com

Al and Oleta were “crowned” King and Queen of the Toledo Centennial Celebrations.

In addition to their 4 children, Al and Oleta have 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, plus one on the way.

Grand Marshals, wishingmylifeaway.com

Allow me to take a final moment to explain the last couple of photos:  there was some general conversation about what time my aunt was supposed to pick Grandpa and Grandma up after the parade amongst those hanging on the street corner.  We quickly came to consensus that it was likely that Penny (their driver) would bring them to us.  A few minutes later here they came.  Mom stepped across the street to walk them over to us (the second to the last photo).  Grandma took a seat, happy to be back in the family fold and out of the spotlight.  Grandpa made a his rounds in our general vicinity shaking hands and chatting with friends.  You see the expression on his face (above).  Grandpa had a very good day.

Love those two.  To the moon and back.

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