Remembering Corinne Thomas

Corinne Gilkey Thomas

She was born on May 24, 1924 in Seattle, the daughter of Alfred and Martha Cover and  passed away at her residence on Guemes Island, just days shy of her 94th birthday. 

Her early memory of Guemes is of a fall on the Gilkey (a relative) property on North Beach. Memories of the house curtains, biking, school, ferry and picking up her father at the dock. Her brothers were sworn to protect her while dating. Where she lived was very isolated and she thought of that when she lived off Island and when she came back it was a surprise. Phone party lines were the rule. Seemed such a "safe place". Skinny- dipping with her two brothers, at beaches there usually was "no one around", picnic gatherings with coca-cola, and chocolate cake (her favorite), learning bad language on a boat with workers, driving cars with keys left when parents were away. All the beaches were open to anyone.

A boy friend 3 years senior, taught her to drive (all over Whidbey) and made her a butt of hostility from Anacortes classmates. Guemes ferry was originally segregated seating by gender. Living on Island limited her knowledge of classmates because she went back to Guemes every day. She became president of the Community Club (by way of nomination by Jane Veal) and ran it smoothly, with Win as entertainment person, and they did a lot for the Island, a Bar-B-Que for over 500 attendees. The loss of a close friend in age before penicillin was invented, was hard on her.

She was once a social worker at Buckley School. Had surgery for a growth which proved to be an abcess, and spent 4 years recovering in Honolulu. Her father and brothers ran tugboats. Welsh background for both her and her husband. There is a Gilkey Park in La Connor, which was the county seat after the split with Whatcom County. Cousins who are Gilkeys. She met many celebrities in her lifetime.

-From the Guemes Island Historical Society
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