Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Barbara Mae West


October 18, 2018

Barbara Mae West

Barbara Mae West

Barbara Mae West, 86, long-time resident of Potlatch died Oct. 8, 2018. At her request, there will be no services.

Born Oct. 4, 1932, at Four Lakes, Wash., to Orville and Geneva Woods Birnel, she lived with her family in Dishman until she was 10 years old, and they moved to the Greenwood area of Seattle. After her parents divorced she lived in Seattle until her senior year of high school when she moved to Spokane to live with her dad and graduated from North Central High School in 1950. After high school she went to work as a telephone operator where she met her future husband Kenneth Hammond.

They were married Feb. 23, 1951, in Spokane. Ken enlisted in the Army and they moved back to the Seattle area so he could do his basic training at Ft. Lewis. After a training accident, Ken was honorably discharged and the family settled in Chehalis. They had four children, Karen, Kathy and the twins Ross and Ray Hammond.

In 1959, the family moved back to the Spokane area, and Barb's little sister Sarah (Tammi) came to live with them in 1960.

They divorced, and she remarried and moved to Moscow, where she worked along with her husband at J. C. Penny Co. They were transferred in 1965 to Steamboat Springs, Colo.

They divorced and she went to work at the Gallery Restaurant supporting her four children. She worked here for many years and waited on celebrities including Clint Eastwood, Barbara Streisand, Julie Newmar and many others vacationing at the ski resort.

After the kids were out of high school, Barb again remarried and moved with her husband to Vail, Iowa, to start what she called her favorite career as a long haul truck driver. She and her husband owned and operated their trucking business hauling for Farmland Meats all over the eastern and southern United States.

She again divorced and moved back to Steamboat Springs for a short period of time and went to work for Steamboat Reservations in customer service.

Barb moved to Princeton, Idaho, in 1990 to live with her sister and brother in law, Tammi and Dennis Musick. She went to work at Lamonts, later Gottschalks, in Moscow. In 1998, Tammi and Dennis purchased the Potlatch Department Store and she went to work for them. She also helped their daughter, Wendy Gunderson, run the small clothing store.

She moved into White Pine Manor in Potlatch and lived there until health issues forced her to move to Aspen Care Nursing Home in April of 2017.

Barb was a football and Nascar fan and attended races all over the United States. She was an artist and jewelry designer and enjoyed making items for family and friends.

She is survived by her children, Karen Hammond of Boise, Idaho; Kathy (Toby) and husband Kirby Duncan of Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Ross and wife Julie Hammond of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Ray Hammond of Denver, Colo.; six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

She is also survived by her sister, Tammi (Sarah) and husband Dennis Musick of Princeton, and their family.

Kramer Funeral Home, Palouse, WA is caring for the family.


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