Seniors & Aging

Pauline VanWeerdhuizen’s dairy ‘family’ extends from farm to Northwest Washington Fair

Retired dairy farmers Bob and Pauline VanWeerdhuizen, who raised Holsteins and Jerseys on about 300 acres, at their farm near Everson in Whatcom County in May, 2017.
Retired dairy farmers Bob and Pauline VanWeerdhuizen, who raised Holsteins and Jerseys on about 300 acres, at their farm near Everson in Whatcom County in May, 2017. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Advancing age and health problems have slowed Pauline VanWeerdhuizen’s legacy of community service, but she still helps out at the Northwest Washington Fair.

She and her husband, Bob VanWeerdhuizen, have lived on the same dairy farm near Everson for nearly six decades, and she’s been an active volunteer for most of that time.

“We like to be available,” says Pauline, 78.

A native of Edmonds, she met her husband while he was stationed at Fort Lewis with the Army. He grew up in Whatcom County, the son of dairy farmers. When he left the service, he and Pauline bought the land they still call home and became a dairy family, too, raising Holsteins and Jerseys on about 300 acres.

They also raised four children, and now have 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Pauline stayed busy at home while her children were young, but when her youngest entered school she became active with Whatcom County Dairy Women, which focuses on promotion and education.

Her husband was active, too, with Whatcom Dairy Federation, an industry group, as well as with Lynden Lions Club, FFA and the boards of the Whatcom County Farm Bureau and the Washington Farm Bureau.

Promoted dairy industry

“Bob and I always wanted to promote the dairy industry,” Pauline says.

Pauline also helped with 4-H, Camp Fire, and Boy Scouts. She has been, and remains, a judge at the fair in Lynden, judging demonstrations by youngsters readying for 4-H.

“I enjoy working with the kids,” she says.

It’s a place for families that would like to learn more about small animals. It’s gone over very well.

Pauline VanWeerdhuizen on the fair’s small animal exhibit

Pauline has been honored as a lifetime member of Whatcom County Dairy Women for her many years with the organization. She has served as president and has sat on numerous committees, including ones for Washington State Dairy Women.

Activities by the county group include its annual Dairy Ambassador Program and its popular food booth at the fair in Lynden. The booth is the group’s major fundraiser and is famous for its Moo-Wich, a popular treat that’s a thick slice of vanilla ice cream between two large chocolate chip cookies.

In years past, Pauline helped manage the food booth and helped make Moo-Wiches ahead of time. She has stepped back from involvement at the food booth in recent years.

“We’re getting kind of old now, you know,” says Bob, who is 80.

Helping children

These days, Pauline spends time at the fair’s small animal exhibit, answering questions and helping supervise the youngsters who show their kittens, ducks, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs and similar critters.

“It’s a place for families that would like to learn more about small animals,” she says. “It’s gone over very well.”

Bob helps at the small animal exhibit, too.

“We are at the fair 24 /7 when it’s open,” he says. “My wife loves the fair.”

2017 Northwest Washington Fair

When: Monday, Aug. 14, through Saturday, Aug. 19

Where: 1775 Front St., Lynden

Gate hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Vendor booths: open at 10 a.m.

Carnival: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Admission: Adults, $13; seniors, 62 and older, $11; youth, 6-12, $8; children 5 and younger, free

Details: 360-354-4111, nwwafair.com

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