2019 Grand Marshal
Marjorie Clark, known to her friends as “Margie”, came into this world in September on Friday the 13th, a month before the great stock market crash of 1929. Though luck seemed not to be in her favor, she did remarkably well. She was born in an area known as Kentucky Flats in Rainier at the house her father, James Lepin, had built that still stands on West B St.
Margie is a descendant of early Rainier Pioneers who began migrating from Carter County, Kentucky, in the 1880s. Her grandfather, Samuel Cecil Counts, who had heard of the opportunities to be found in Rainier from relatives and friends living there, arrived in 1902, and he found work as an accountant at the Rainier Sash and Door Factory. He returned to Kentucky a year later and brought his wife, Florence, and their four children to Rainier. They later had three more children including Marjorie’s mother, Elaine.
On January 2, 1946, at the age of 16, Marjorie married Nelson Clark. She had met him the previous year at a dance while he was a Seabee with the U.S. Navy stationed at Clatskanie. Her mother thought Margie had gone shopping, but a friend let it slip that she had gone to a dance. Her mom was furious to learn that her 15-year-old daughter was out commingling with service men. When Margie returned home, she found that her mom had locked the front door. She had to climb in through a window to get back inside.
Nelson and Margie moved to Dothan, Alabama, for a one-year commitment Nelson had made to his father to help him farm. After returning to Rainier Nelson found work at Longview Fibre Company. One of the houses they rented was in West Rainier, but it was damaged beyond repair in the 1948 flood. The first house they bought was on West E St. across from Marjorie’s brother, Nelson Lepin. In 1953 they built a house on Wonderly Road in the Delena area.
Marjorie was a stay-at-home mom while their children, Mike and Patricia, attended the Delena Grade School. In 1965, they moved closer to Rainier; and the children attended Rainier schools. This was about the same time Margie found employment at Weiby’s clothing store with Mel and Elsie Riveness. Later on, she worked at Coldwell’s Pharmacy with Glen and Frances Coldwell. She also worked at the Bon Marche in Longview, later volunteering at the St. John’s Hospital helping to discharge patients and working in the gift shop.
Margie and Nelson enjoyed traveling. Following Nelson’s retirement in 1984, they traveled around the United States in a motorhome. They also went on cruises and visited Europe. They enjoyed square dancing in Rainier with the Rainier Columbia Squares and later with the Square and Circle in Longview. Nelson passed away in 2004. Marjorie moved from their home on Riverview Drive into a townhouse near the Rainier Senior Center where she volunteers.
In 2010 she represented the senior center as a princess of the “My Fair Lady” pageant at the Columbia County Fair. She was crowned queen. She still travels. She recently returned from a cruise through the Panama Canal. She spends quality time with her many friends and family.
Margie wishes to thank the Rainier Days in the Park committee and the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum for the honor of being picked as this year’s Grand Marshal.