METHOW VALLEY PEOPLE
When director, editor, writer, and actor, Lynn Shelton died May 16, 2020 at the age of 54, the world lost a dynamic member of the arts community and Twisp River residents Mac Shelton and Frauke Rynd lost a beloved daughter. Shelton leaves behind an impressive body of work that includes feature films like Humpday (2009), Your Sister’s Sister (2011), Outside In (2017), the TV mini-series Little Fires Everywhere (2020), and dozens of other film and TV projects. But even more importantly, Shelton leaves behind a legacy of, as one colleague put it, “directing and living her life as a deep and pure enthusiast for people’s best potential.”
Storyteller, dancer, teacher, musician, author, and activist Dan Nanamkin is a member of the Chief Joseph Band of Wallaowa, Nez Perce, and Colville Confederated Tribes. Nanamkin, whose Native name means “Thunder and Lightning,” has been an advocate for Indigenous cultural arts since the 1900s, particularly in the area of youth engagement. “Storytelling is integral to indigenous culture,” he says. “It’s important for our people to understand the discipline, to value the oral tradition, to participate in the ceremonies that pass this information from generation to generation.”
When Barry Stromberger bought a 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook for $25 in college, he never dreamed that one day he would be charged with cutting one into pieces. But fate has a way of intervening in serendipitous ways, and many years later he spent as much time carving up a derelict Cranbrook as he did driving one as a student.
Born on a Methow Valley homestead and raised in the fields, forests and mountains that he spent his youth and his golden years exploring, Carl R. Miller passed away peacefully on Dec. 12, 2020, in Spokane at the age of 81.
After retiring from a 27-year career as a firefighter with the City of Spokane, in 1994, Miller returned to live in the Methow Valley with his wife, Roxie. For some, retirement is a gateway to a slower pace and fewer commitments. For Miller, retirement was an opportunity to invest in people and places, to explore the region, and to spend meaningful time with his younger brother, Claude Miller, a well-known Methow Valley horseman and outfitter.
For more than a generation, Sally Portman has been the face of the Winthrop Library, making book recommendations, running Story Hour, connecting book club members with their assigned reading, scheduling guest speakers, and helping library patrons find the answers to life’s persistent questions. When she retired at the end of March, it was with the satisfaction of more than three decades of providing valley residents access to information and the pursuit of literary pleasures.
Ken Westman knew well the value of community in a meaningful life, and nowhere is that more in evidence than in the people he touched, in the place that he loved. Throughout his life, but particularly later on during his Methow Valley years, Ken made a difference in people’s lives, and his legacy can be found in the many Methow Valley community organizations and residents that are stronger for having known him. Ken died at home — as was his wish — on July 26, after a long illness.
Bill Moody had to fudge his age a bit to get his first job fighting fires in the Deschutes National Forest in 1956 when he was still in high school, but the numbers don’t lie now. Moody has spent more than 60 years in professional wildfire suppression and innovation, an achievement that was recently recognized with the 2020 International Walt Darran Aerial Firefighting Award.
Talking with Tom Graves is a little bit like approaching a wild horse: you’re never quite sure if he’s going to settle down and let you lead the conversation, or rear back and keep you chasing him.