Anne & Ross Worley, Lopez Island

  • Fri May 21st, 2010 11:16pm
  • Life
Clockwise from top: Ross and Anne Worley in 2001

Clockwise from top: Ross and Anne Worley in 2001

“His family had horses,” said Anne Worley, “and my family had boats.”

“She learned to tolerate the horses,” said Ross, Anne’s husband. Ross rode horseback to school in Bothell in the early 40s but was introduced to sailboats while attending the University of Washington.

“Show her that sailboat,” Ross urges. Anne displays her engagement ring with a broad smile and gleaming eyes. Ross bought it when he sold the boat.

Ross Worley is the third generation of his family to have lived in Bothell. Previous family members had a store and the little community adopted their name. He is the great nephew of George Bothell who was a member of the Washington legislature in early years.

The Bothell Historical Museum is housed in the 1893 two-story former home of his maternal grandparents. It was moved to the Park at Bothell Landing in the 1970s.

The unassuming couple met on a blind date while at the U. of W. Ross had graduated from Bothell High School in 1946 and joined the Army as World War II ended. He had hoped to travel and have some adventures but his typing ability placed him with the Signal Corps and he was stationed in a federal office building in Seattle. After that stint, he entered the University and joined ROTC where he received $28 per month, was commissioned and called to active duty during the Korean War.

Anne Byington was living in Seattle in the same home where her mother lived all of her married life. Mrs. Byington eventually celebrated her 100th birthday. After high school, Anne studied education at the University of Washington. Anne and Ross were married in June, 1952, and lived in Virginia for two years while Ross was in the service. Anne taught a few years before their two daughters and one son arrived and went back to teaching when the youngest entered sixth grade. “She never got out of first grade,” Ross said with a gentle laugh.

“I had opportunities to teach other grades but I always thought I hadn’t done this well enough yet. I have to do just a little better,” Anne said. About her 20-plus years of teaching, she added, “It was a high-energy job but I loved it. It was exciting, and fun, and challenging.”

The family lived in Woodinville for nearly 35 years. Ross worked for Lynnwood Equipment, a manufacturer of logging and construction machinery where he was vice president and director of operations. During the building of the Alaska pipeline, the company had branches in Anchorage and Ketchikan. Business was good for the company and their work with small logging operations until environmental changes brought a downturn to the industry in the late 1970s. Ross finished his career working at Weyerhaeuser and retired in 1991, the same year as Anne.

Ross continued serving in the Army Reserve, retiring as lieutenant colonel. During the time he was away at summer military training, Anne loaded children, tents and bicycles into their three-horse trailer and camped at Odlin Park, extending stays each time. She met other campers who were beginning to buy property on the island.

“No way am I going to move up there and depend on those ferries,” Ross said. They bought property on Lopez in the mid-1980s and debated about how to use it, perhaps for a summer home. When their Woodinville home sold in the early 1990s, the decision was made. Construction on their new home began in 1993 while they lived on their sailboat.

Although admitted home bodies and avid Husky fans, since retiring they have traveled to Spain, Costa Rica and New Zealand and cruised the Rhine. During a trip to Australia, Anne had a memorable first-time meeting with descendants from her grandmother’s family. When Anne’s grandmother immigrated to the U.S. from England about 1900, her brother went to Australia. “It was like I had known them all my life,” Anne said about meeting the families.

The couple agrees, “We love it here. It was so easy to get involved.” Anne has served on the Catherine Washburn Board, is a mentor and is active in her church with the outreach program and as a member of the Bishop’s Committee. Ross is the water commissioner for his homeowners’ association, has served on the board for the Friends of the Library, been on the Yacht Club Board of Directors, and has been a Senior Health Insurance Benefit Advisor (SHIBA) to help people understand Medicare. He, too, is active with church work and helps Anne with outreach and the food bank, reflecting that his mother was involved with the Red Cross helping to provide food during the depression.

“We’re not happy unless we can make a difference. That seems to be our motivation,” said the enthusiastic pair.