ESTELLE BEDARD PRIGMORE
House of Chief Aeneus, watercolor by his daughter Lena
Estelle was born in 1913 in the house of her maternal grandfather, Chief Aeneus, a member of the Colville confederated tribe in upper Washington State. He named her Weechoppi Weenoho, which means early morning star. Estelles mother, Lena, married Phileus Bedard, a man of French-Canadian heritage. Phileus sired, with Lena and a second wife, a total of nineteen children.
Bedard family (Estelle: front row, 2nd from left, holding first child)
Estelle graduated from high school in 1932 and taught hairdressing at the Chemawa Indian School near Salem, Oregon. She also worked at the Meyers & Frank department store in Portland. After three years working at a beauty salon in Honolulu, she married Wade Prigmore and raised four daughters while continuing to work full-time.
The amazing thing about this woman is that she has never been content to simply settle down and take the easy road. Between 1982 and 1986 Estelle volunteered her time at three rescue missions in Spokane, Washington. From there she went to Honduras and served a stint in the Peace Corps where she advised and instructed the people in dietary needs, good nutrition, and cooking techniques (an admirable activity, compared to some of those who merely take up space on this planet). Now, at age 87 and having been inspired by one of her poems being published in a poetry compilation called The Silence Within Estelle has just bought her first computer and looks forward to writing short stories, more poetry, and her memoirs.