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Yelm icon Roberta Longmire

I was in Florence, Italy when I read of the passing of Yelm icon Roberta Longmire October 7th on the local newspaper’s website. The newspaper reported Longmire died of natural causes September 19 at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, at age 89. She was born Aug. 9, 1922 in Seattle.

The paper went on to report:
Robertas life was guided by a strong sense of right and wrong and a deep belief in treating everyone fairly. She was dedicated to helping others.”

“Roberta was involved in many volunteer and civil projects including being a scout leader, serving on the building committees for the Yelm United Methodist Church and Yelm City Hall. She served on the Washington State Equalization Board, City of Yelm Planning Commission and was a founding director of Prairie Security Bank.”

“Roberta is survived by two sons, Daniel E. Longmire and Thomas T. Longmire; sisters, Eileen Inman and Jean Griffin; four step grandchildren; and 10 step great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas E. Longmire.

Memorial Services are 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 at Yelm Community Methodist Church. Reception to follow.

For more information call Tom Longmire at 360-701-2196.”

Ed. Note:
In reading the newspaper’s obituary, I paused to remember the few interactions with Ms. Longmire over the last 23 years of my residency here.

– The first was when I called her about the potential of buying a piece of property she owned contiguous to my then-residence near Four Corners in the early 1990s.

– The second time was when she called me about my support of the 1995 Yelm Vision Plan, in which a current City Council member and another Yelm Planning Commission member seem to have forgotten in their approvals to develop this area. She expressed her dismay at how this Plan was pushed aside and seemingly forgotten when Yelm approved the 5,000 home Thurston Highlands and the 1,200 home Tahoma Terra developments earlier this decade, both of which went bankrupt and left this city with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid services, fees and taxes.

Read more about the Yelm Vision Plan.

– My third and last conversation with Ms. Longmire was an unsolicited phone call I received one Sunday morning about a year after my unsuccessful bid for Mayor of Yelm in 2005. This lady had the grace to seek me out to acknowledge my standing-up to run for public office here, against the entrenched leadership, to provide the voters a choice, something sorely lacking in most of the city’s positions for years.

She touched my soul when she said my call on this Blog for Town Hall Public Forums, my championing the public’s interest and keeping citizens informed on key city issues were so important to her. She told me the two-page spread in the newspaper purchased at my own expense as my gift to the city with my plan were I were elected Mayor, was in her words, very noble.

We discussed the path this city’s government had taken in unbridled development being anathema to the Yelm Vision Plan set in place by people like John G. Thompson, Shelly Badger, Lee Anne Campbell, Margaret Clapp, Steve Craig & John Thomson, whose voices are publicly silent today in support of the Vision Plan as the city continues expansion. Somehow, I got the sense that Mrs. Longmire would be against the City Council seizing a citizens water rights to expand the city, as an example.
She expressed her love for this town, however not the direction the local government had taken.

Bottom line:
Roberta Longmire came from a Yelm pioneer family and was an advocate for the preservation of the unique character of this area. She will be sorely missed…yet not forgotten!

Posted by Steve on October 16, 2011 at 6:37 am | Permalink

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