Series | Home in Douglas County

Shirley Daling sorts through donated items at the Douglas County Historical Society Thrift Store. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

 

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

 

This is the fifth in a series of articles about people who have come to Douglas County from places near and far and have thrived here. Some came through marriage, some have retired here and some are young couples who have found this to be their place of choice for raising children. All have become active in the life of the community and have come to call this home. The fifth article is about Shirley (Waite) Daling, who came to Wenatchee from Shelton to attend the Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in 1947, and then moved to Waterville when she married Dick Daling in 1951.

 

Western Washington native is won over to life in North Central Washington

Shirley (Waite) Daling and her classmates stand in front of the Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing building in Wenatchee in May of 1948. Back row, from left, are Irene Sprouse, Caroline Simmons, Rosemary McKinzie, Eleanor Thorndyke and Denise Noble; front row, Miss McFarland, Shirley Waite, Ina Jane Kell and Eva Hopp. (Provided photo/Shirley Daling)

When Shirley (Waite) Daling first arrived in Wenatchee to attend the Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, she was shocked by the dry, brown hills that she saw all around her. The 1947 Shelton High School graduate had never been over to the east side of the mountains before.

“I took one look at those dry hills and said ‘How can I stand not seeing green trees for the next three years?’,” Daling reminisced.

Three years has turned into 70 years, and though Daling still misses the ocean, the green woods and the rain at times, she has grown to love her adopted home.

Daling dreamed of being a lab technician, but her family could not afford to pay college tuition. Her mother was a nurse, so she decided to settle on nursing. The Deaconess Hospital program was special because there was no tuition.

In return for a free education, students worked hard in the hospital — starting with basic nursing duties, like changing bed pans and making beds. As their skills expanded, so did the tasks assigned to them.

They took their science classes at the new community college in the area — Wenatchee Junior College, which later became Wenatchee Valley College. Because the college didn’t have its own buildings, classes were held at Wenatchee High School.

The students lived in an old home, with two to three girls per room and a housemother to watch over them. They didn’t have much free time, but they spent what they had together. Lifelong friendships were forged through this shared experience of studying, working and recreation.

The students only had one week of vacation the whole year.

As part of the program, they spent six weeks each at Children’s Orthopedic Hospital in Seattle and at Western State Hospital in Lakewood for specialized training.

About a year after she arrived in Wenatchee, classmate Caroline Simmons invited her home to Waterville for dinner. Simmons was dating Lawrence Gormley, and so Gormley came to the dinner with his friend Dick Daling.

Daling was soon dating this young farmer from Waterville, and they were married in 1951.

Daling, now graduated and with one year of work experience in Wenatchee under her belt, came to live at the Herman Daling ranch, four miles south of Waterville. She found a job working at the Douglas County Hospital for Dr. Olson.

Four daughters were born to the couple: Ronda (Cordill), Terri (Matthews), Jill (Thompson) and Wendy (Krumroy).

The girls were very active in the community, taking part in Camp Fire, the Federated Church, Rainbow, 4-H and Waterville School activities. Dick Daling volunteered at the Badger Mountain Ski Hill, and the girls all learned to ski at an early age and continued the sport each winter. They swam in the summer. Every year they entered items in the NCW Fair.

“I think it was a good place to raise them,” Shirley Daling said of Waterville.

Daling was involved with the children in all these activities as they were growing up. She served as a Camp Fire leader and as a Sunday school teacher.

For her own part, she was active in the local Rebekah Lodge and with the Business and Professional Women’s Club.

When the Douglas County Hospital closed, Daling became the nurse for Waterville schools. She served in this position for about nine years and then served as the school administrative assistant for 16 years.

Today she is active with the Federated Church, and is a member of the church board and the Federated Women’s Guild. She is on the board of trustees of the Douglas County Historical Society and volunteers at the Historical Society Thrift Store twice a month, as well as performing bookkeeping duties for the store.

She also enjoys quilting and doing genealogical research.

Involvement in the NCW Fair has continued to be a family affair for Daling, her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Thompson serves as the superintendent of the Fabric and Fiber Arts barn and Matthews takes a week off work and travels from Colorado each year to help her sister. Though they reside outside Douglas County, Daling’s grandchildren and some great-grandchildren exhibit at the fair. Daling said that during last year’s fair she had 18 houseguests for the week.

Daling said of the family effort, “The fair needs all our support and it’s important to them to keep it going.”

Daling was tickled that she had one grandchild win the “mutton bustin’” contest in 2016 and one win last year.

In 2005, the Dalings moved to a home in town. Dick Daling passed away in 2010.

Daling said she has no plans to go anywhere else.

“I just grew to love it,” she said of the community.