Some time ago in Gardiner, a school bus full of preschool boys from a Catholic school in Tacoma broke down and was stranded overnight.
Marty Pearson, secretary at Gardiner Community Church, knew exactly what to do.
“I called Helen (Dent),” she said. “That was the thing to do.”
Dent called the grange and arranged for the community center to be opened up for the 30-odd little boys and their teachers. Neighbors and friends brought blankets and cooked food and Dent opened up her own basement as temporary housing as well.
“She knew everybody and was always available to help,” Pearson said.
Dent, a staple in the Gardiner and Diamond Point communities, died June 2 at the age of 91. The community dedicated its annual Fourth of July potluck gathering to Dent as well as Earl Gibson, who also died within the past year.
Remembered for her community involvement, kindness and tenacity, Dent was instrumental in developing Mains Farm in Sequim and the Sunshine Acres community in Diamond Point. She moved to Gardiner in 1959 with her husband, Howard. At age 87 she built her last spec home in Sunshine Acres and told her great-niece Kari Beder she finally could retire.
“Funny thing is she never really retired, she just moved on to something else,” Beder wrote in an e-mail from Wisconsin.
Whenever anyone had a question about properties in the area or needed information about something, they would call Dent, Beder said.
“She was the ‘go-to’ person for Gardiner history because she was an integral part of the development of the area,” Beder said.
Dent loved family visits and always tried to convince Beder and her husband to move “out West.”
She kept a small herd of cows, which she called her “girls,” and named every one of them, treating them as pets the same as her toy poodle, Buttons.
Pearson said she will remember Dent for her “kindness, her love and her intelligence. She was a highly intelligent lady and she cared about people.”
In keeping with her caring, generous spirit, Dent left a portion of her estate to the Gardiner Community Church, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, National Federation of the Blind Washington and the Salvation Army – Clallam County.
Reach Amanda Winters at email@example.com.