Shirley Prouty (Submitted photo)

Shirley Prouty (Submitted photo)

Shirley Prouty, Arlington historian and grandma to all, dies at 92

Prouty chronicled “100 Years of Arlington” in a series of books. “She’d turn over any rock,” a former mayor said.

ARLINGTON — Shirley Prouty didn’t do anything in moderation, whether it was growing Christmas trees, meeting strangers or promoting Arlington.

She wrote a book about the town’s history and turned it into a four-volume series.

Prouty died Feb. 10. She was 92.

“Shirley was one of the most welcoming people I’ve met,” said Arlington’s former mayor, Barb Tolbert. “She was appreciated by everyone.”

Tolbert said she learned a lot about Arlington from Prouty, who painstakingly researched and documented the history in her “100 Years of Arlington” book series.

“She took great pride in that, ” Tolbert said. “She’d turn over any rock.”

When Tolbert presented her with a Mayor’s Volunteer Award in 2019, Prouty shared the credit, saying: “It takes a community to document history.”

Prouty was a longtime member of the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association and museum. She drafted the design for the Red Work Quilt that highlights historic places. She was a 4-H leader for 26 years and spent 19 years with the Evergreen State Fair. When the fair superintendent needed a manager for the photography department, he called on her and she did that for nine years.

Shirley Winnifred Andrews was born in Poulsbo in 1931. She won a cherry pie contest as a teen in 1947 and traveled to Chicago for a competition with 18 other states. In 1948, she was Cherry Pie Queen. She was valedictorian of her high school class of 1949 of 33 students.

She was studying home economics at Washington State University when she met Richard “Dick” Prouty, a mechanical engineering major. They married in 1954.

The couple moved to Arlington from Kirkland in 1973.

“It was a pastoral setting with a view of the mountains,” she told The Daily Herald in 2020. “We wanted a slower pace.”

They raised five children and grew hundreds of Christmas trees that they sold and gave away. Over the years, they built four houses, doing much of the work themselves.

She and Dick opened their home on holidays to his engineering students at Everett Community College. Many were from foreign countries, far from home. The students and their children became like family members. They also hosted foreign exchange students over the years.

After the Oso mudslide in 2014, they invited a man who lost his home to stay with them for several months in an apartment at their house.

“They welcomed him until he figured out what to do,” said their daughter, Sue Robertson.

Her parents traveled all over the country in RVs.

“Yesterday, we came across an atlas that Mom always took with her, well-worn and well-loved, and it has all these dots all over the United States with the best motorhome spots,” Robertson said.

Dick Prouty died in 2020 at age 89.

“We’ve been accused of being fused at the hip,” Prouty said at that time.

The Arlington Lodge 129, Free and Accepted Masons of Washington, named her “Citizen of the Year” in 2023 for her decades of commitment, and included her late husband in the honor.

Robertson said her mother made friends wherever she went.

“Anybody, everybody my whole life — the checkers at the grocery store, the guy standing on the corner — nobody was off limits to her,” Robertson said.

A viewing is from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Weller Funeral Home in Arlington. A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. March 17 at Faith Lutheran Church in Marysville.

In addition to Robertson, she is survived by her sons Keith, Allen and Jim Prouty, 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Janice Goehrs, died in 1996. She was “Mom” to foreign exchange student Radomir Milosavljevic and “Grandma” to April Luangrath Garbusjuk and Paula Luangrath Brown.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Freeborn Lutheran Church, 2416 300th St. NW, Stanwood.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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