Battle Ground resident marks 100th birthday

Posted

 

One of the Seattle Mariners’ biggest fans is 52 years older than the team itself. Helen Cresap (Wedin), a Battle Ground local and avid fan, is turning 100 years old next Friday, Aug. 28. Born on Aug. 28, 1920, Cresap is only 17 years older than the World Series itself.

“Yeah, I love the Mariners,” Helen said about the team, mentioning that she doesn’t have a favorite player but that there are so many new people this year that she will have to take some time to remember them all. 

Helen was born in a small, two-bedroom house in the Yacolt area when Battle Ground had a population of 400. Now with a population of more than 22,000, Battle Ground has changed considerably in her lifetime.

“I think the town has grown up gracefully,” she said about the population changes. 

Helen was one of seven children and had two sisters and four brothers while growing up. Turning 10 as the 1930s and the Great Depression loomed over Americans, Helen said she remembers a time when her four brothers made their own board game out of food cans and rubber bands. Helen’s daughter, Gloria Walck, said the group of kids “really had to make do with what they had” during the Depression. 

At the age of 18, Helen married Joe Cresap, who grew up at the base of Bells Mountain near Battle Ground lake. The duo met at a dance at Battle Ground Lake in the late 1930s. Because the Wedins came from a Swedish family, dancing would become one the family’s most common pastimes. They would dance at home as well as at the grange and during the Swedish Smorgasbords. 

“We danced, danced and danced again,” Helen said when asked about some of her favorite memories. 

The Cresap family made impressions on the Battle Ground community early with some of the first Cresaps moving into the area as early as 1866. As some of the early founders of the area, the family helped build a wagon trail along Woodin Creek from Brush Prairie to Battle Ground. Later on, the trail was used to deliver mail to citizens in the area. The Cresap family owned a ferry, which provided settlers the ability to cross the North Fork Lewis River safely. In the early 1920s, when Helen was about 2 years old, the family helped pave Heisson Road, which became a main route to North Clark County. 

Helen and Joe worked in the Battle Ground community for long portions of their life. Helen, a homemaker by day, spent some time serving on the Heisson Election Board in the 1940s. She also became a member of the Pankoski American Legion and the Rebekah International Order of Oddfellows. According to the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies, the mission and purpose of the organization is 

To live peaceably, do good unto all, as we have opportunity and especially to obey the Golden Rule, Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so unto them.” 

Helen still lives by this motto today. Her 100th birthday wish is for the people of the world to be happy and healthy. 

Along with serving on the election board and joining local organizations, Helen and Joe took part in community events like the burial of the local time capsule. 

“Mom was there when the buried the original time capsule at the old city hall and she was there when they buried the most recent one at the new city hall,” Gloria explained. 

Being around for the growth of Battle Ground wasn’t the only thing the duo did in their lifetime. In the 1960s, they went to Alaska to watch the filming of the National Geographic Documentary “Rafting the Yukon.” During this time, her and Joe would travel around and explore the country in their RV, visiting whatever they found interesting. As for Helen’s favorite place on Earth, she said Kah-Nee-Tah Hot Springs in Central Oregon. 

For Gloria, a few distinct memories stick out to her about the kind of person her mom is. 

“She really taught me and my sister responsibility, the meaning of the dollar and how to pay the bills,” Gloria said, mentioning that one fun memory sticks out in particular. “There was this one time where we had a dime and we asked mom to turn it into two nickels. To this day, I still don’t know how she managed to pull two nickels out of her hand when she pretended to bend the dime, but she did.” 

According to Gloria, along with teaching her and her sister the value of money and hard work, she also taught the kids how to be family oriented and kind to one another.

 “She is very family oriented and the best gift she could ever get was a happy and healthy family,” Gloria explained. 

Helen has three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and every single member of the family grew up in Battle Ground and went to Battle Ground schools. Most of the family still lives in the area, with a couple living nearby. In 2004, the City of Battle Ground dedicated Cresap Park near Eaton Boulevard in honor of the family. 

As for birthday celebrations, much of the family is keeping that secret until the big day. But one thing is for sure, the party is bound to have some of Helen’s favorite food, Drumstick Ice Cream Cones. 

 

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here