Marilyn Hulse, 65, of Wallowa is proud that her children are sixth-generation Wallowa Countians. That’s on her husband Gary Hulse’s side, but her own family, the DeGroffts (ranchers and owners of Wallowa Hardware back in the day), have been in the county since the ‘40s. She was born in the county.
Marilyn graduated from Wallowa High in 1970 and, as young women did in those days, married straight out of school. Her husband, Gary, was logging, but the couple soon moved to Pendleton where Gary took a job as a firefighter and paramedic for Pendleton Fire Department.
All but one of their five children was born in Pendleton.
Gary and Marilyn returned to Wallowa County in 1994 and their youngest three children graduated from Wallowa High.
Marilyn has worked as a library assistant, both paid and volunteer at Pendleton Public Library (92-94), Enterprise Library (94-95) and for Wallowa Library since 2008. She also spent six years working as a clerk for the Juvenile Department in Enterprise.
In addition to her interest in the library, she serves on the board of the Wallowa History Center, the Senior Advisory Committee for the Wallowa Senior Center, and the Friends of the Wallowa School District. She also acts as clerk for Wallowa Cemetery. She says that volunteering is her life, now that the kids are raised.
Q. What draws you to the projects you choose to become involved in?
A. I’m kind of a cheerleader for Wallowa. I want to see the community improve and it seems to me that volunteering my time is the biggest thing I can give the community. Gary feels the same. He just finished a stint as fire chief and is now on city council. I want to see Wallowa remain a viable town — it doesn’t have to grow to do that. We have always been this size and functioned at this level of population for well over 100 years.
Q. What does Wallowa County have to teach the state and world?
A. We’re self-sufficient. We grow just about everything here that people could possibly need in the way of food. We have to build things ourselves, we can’t rely on government handouts. Fortunately we are a united community (that can do that) even though we have many different political views. We seem to work well together. I don’t see the hate here that I see on television.
Q. What great books can you recommend?
A. I love the history of this community, and saving our past is really important to me. I think (first nation) people should tell their own side of the story their own way, and people like myself tell the white European side. I like an intellectual book, a study book, a heavy book — a book where I can learn history. I’ve studied the racial troubles between Indians and whites — before I leave this world I’d like to make sense of it.