Ralph Blankenship not only personifies Olympia history in his family connections to several pioneer families, he has worked tirelessly to preserve and promote local history by serving on the OHS board and through his support of the Sandman and other maritime heritage resources. President Foutch noted, “Even with all his other community service commitments, Ralph Blankenship served our Olympia Historical Society in exemplary fashion for six years as a Board member, including one year as President and three as Treasurer. We’ll miss his commitment and enthusiasm for local history, his long corporate memory with OHS, and his always-positive contributions to Board issues. Thanks, Ralph!”

And Ralph himself adds, “It has been a great pleasure for me to be on the board for the past two terms serving as trustee, president, and for the last few years as treasurer. Particularly it has been exciting this last couple of years seeing OHS nearly double in size and become involved in so many community activities. And now the pending merger of OHS with the Bigelow House Preservation Association hopefully will bring all that is great from both organizations together. I see a wonderful future for the combined group and more fun historical education and promotion. I wish the best to the collection of some of the best historians in the county into the new organization’s board of directors.”

Ralph promises to stay active as a member, so when you see him at events and meetings, thank him for his long service to Olympia history.

Introducing Debra Jackson as a prospective new Board member: 

Debra (Cain) Jackson is a lifelong resident of the Olympia area and her local roots go back several generations. She was in the very first graduating class of Timberline High School and her parents both attended Olympia High School. Her grandparents on her father’s side homesteaded a large farm along what is today known as Cain Road. Grandparents on her mother’s side moved from Tenino to Olympia in the early 1930’s where grandfather owned a grocery store on 4th Avenue called Metter’s Market Basket and was Commodore of the Olympia Yacht Club in the 1940’s. Debra is the great, great granddaughter of Alexander Yantis – an original pioneer of Thurston County.  Her hobbies are working on her home, hiking, and most importantly, her four grandchildren – the loves of her life.

Debra purchased a home registered on the Lacey Historical Register in 2007. After buying her home, she attended the annual Olympia historic home tour and became even more intrigued with local history in Thurston County and knew she wanted to be more actively involved.

Debra is well known for establishing exceptional working relationships having been a member on several local boards in the last few years and in her role as VP/Lending Manager at Olympia Federal Savings.  She takes the time to develop lasting relationships with community members throughout Thurston County with a variety of backgrounds and interests.

Two of Debra’s most important goals & objectives for the Olympia Historical Society are to support the existing programs & events already established and working well, and to introduce new events that encompass and foster more community involvement and increase awareness of our beautiful historical community. She is excited to be a part of the team of the Olympia Historical Society and will work to guarantee that our precious heritage will be shared with all generations.

Introducing Sam Reed as a prospective new Board member:

“Having served as first the territorial capitol and then the state’s capitol, Olympia has a long, rich history. When serving as Secretary of State, I chaired the territorial sesquicentennial commemoration and had the responsibility for the State Archives, State Library, and the state’s oral history program/Legacy Project.   I became more passionate about our Washington’s history.   It struck me, though, that the public doesn’t know enough about our capitol’s history.  So, one of the first things I did upon retirement was volunteer to help OHS.  From the Bigelow House to the future Heritage Center, our future is rich with opportunities for getting out Olympia’s remarkable story.  I believe it would be an honor and privilege to serve on OHS’s board.”