I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Maureen White, a half hour later I was exhausted, she has done so much! What a life she has enjoyed, as they say there’s no grass growing under her feet.
Born in Chelan on September 17, 1934 Maureen grew up during the Great Depression that lasted until 1939. “Our home was in Manson and I remember being very poor, we used apple boxes as chairs and an outdoor privies for our toilets but through it all my dad Valden and mom Stella worked hard providing for our family. I have one brother, Glen and we moved 12 times by the time I was in the eighth grade for my dad’s employment,” Maureen said.
Maureen’s grandparents homesteaded in Manson in 1916. Her mother Stella White graduated from Manson High School and was an Apple Blossom Princess in 1931. Stella was one of twelve children and Maureen is grateful for all the support the family provided in her formative years.
Maureen’s family moved to the west side after Maureen’s eighth grade year and she was finally able to settle down, graduating from Franklin High School in Seattle with honors in 1952. Before Maureen graduated from high school she was offered four jobs, she ended up working for the Boeing Company at their Seattle plant then Renton. She was an expert in shorthand and was hired as a stenographer, Maureen spent seven years with Boeing.
During that time period Maureen waited for her high school sweetheart, Zeke Taylor’s return from the Korean War. They married in 1955 and were blessed with their first son Steve in 1956, Jeff in 1957, David in 1960 and Vickie in 1962. They spent 20 years in Seattle with Zeke working as a mechanic and Maureen starting her career working with youth, teaching pre-school in classrooms operated by Green River Community College and Seattle Community College. Maureen lost Steve in 2010 and David passed away after a five year battle with cancer in 2013. “I couldn’t have made it through those times without my faith in God and the support of folks at North Shore Bible Church,” Maureen said.
For fun Maureen played softball, she was very good at the game. She played in high school and started again after her daughter was born in 1962. “I was a catcher, she said and that’s why I’ve had two knee replacements!” She played in the Renton and Issaquah leagues and her team, Anderson Plumbing, piled up many records she is still proud of. Meanwhile Zeke started racing stock cars and was very good, especially on the figure eight course at Monroe. The races were a family event with everyone rooting for dad.
Maureen is grateful for a mentor she had at Bellevue Community College (BCC) that encouraged her to return to school. “I’ve always enjoyed learning and her encouragement started me on a path to life-long learning,” Maureen stated. Maureen worked a half day as a secretary at Maple Valley College and attended school at BCC for a half day. In 1973 she received her first degree in Early Childhood Education. Unfortunately, Maureen went through a divorce in 1973 and she was on her own.
Maureen was the founder and director of the Bellevue Community Student Childcare Center, which she operated for sixteen years. Her program was such a huge success that she was in demand to help other colleges in Washington get a program started then nationally. She spent much time traveling and giving presentations, which she enjoyed.
Maureen received a second degree in Early Childhood Education – Special Education and then she received a four year degree in Program Management and Early Childhood Education from Antioch University. Finally at the age 56 Maureen received her Master’s Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Kirkland.
With things going well in her life she met and married Chris Thompson in 1987 and he moved her back to Manson in 1989 into her current home. Maureen founded the Childcare Center in Chelan in 1993 and operated the business for nine years until rental cost for a building became too high. Then in 2002 she operated a preschool and childcare business out of her home until she had her second knee replacement. Maureen is sad to report that her second marriage ended in 1996 for reasons beyond her control.
Maureen’s mother, Stella came to live with her in 2003, Maureen took care of her for ten years until Stella’s passing just a few days past her 100th birthday.
Maureen began working with Pam Calhoun developing “Kid Haven Early Learning Center” at North Shore Bible Church in 2013. They had many hoops to jump through but finally got the business up and running April 2016 after lots of prayers! When I asked Pam Calhoun what she thought about Maureen she said, “Maureen is the heartbeat and back bone of Kid Haven. She is my mentor and I would not have attempted to start Kid Haven without her.” Maureen serves as Assistant Director and Pre-School Teacher working 16 hours a week. They have 40 student with ages ranging from two months to twelve years. Maureen says, “I just love my time with the children and developing interesting and challenging curriculum.”
Maureen has been part of the Manson Farmers Market for 17 years where she sells homemade doggie treats and veggies when in season. She also started the Chelan Valley Genealogy Society in 1990, they have 40 members she helps trace lineages and family history. Maureen is a member of a writers group that meets regularly at the Manson Red Apple Market. On top of all this Maureen is an author with three books under her belt that contain stories and poems.
Maureen discovered North Shore Bible Church from Doctor Hurst in 2000, she has been attending ever since. “At North Shore people care about people and I want to give that back. I thoroughly enjoy our Sunday sermons from our “teaching pastor” Craig Rayment,” Maureen said. Maureen serves NSBC as a Greeter, a perfect job for her and her outgoing personality!
Chris Rayment, Children Director at NSBC said the following about Maureen, “Maureen has a heart that is soooooo big, she is a dear dear lady that overflows with her love of Jesus and children. So many children's lives have been touched by her gentle loving spirit. She always has projects and ideas that will benefit her kids at Kid Haven.”
So what’s next for Maureen? “Number one I want to remain healthy and keep my energy level high so I can continue working with children. I have written two children books that I hope to publish very soon and then write more!” Maureen concluded.
By Norm Manly