My Aunt Grace and Uncle Bill died yesterday :( This is pretty sad news. I love you so much! :(
Together to the end: Senior couple dies at same time
ELLENSBURG -- Charles and Grace Elkins, Ellensburg residents active for many years in the Kittitas County Fair and local historical activities, died together Wednesday morning after medics responded to their home on Hannah Road, authorities and friends said.
Charles Elkins, a retired telephone company technician, was 78. Grace Elkins, the retired curator of the Kittitas County Historical Museum, was 76.
Kittitas County sheriff's officials said deputies and Ellensburg medics responded to the couple's home shortly after 7 a.m. because Charles Elkins was having difficulty breathing. While they were trying to revive him, Grace Elkins began having medical problems and became
unconscious. Both died at the scene, officials said.
The couple was married for more than 50 years.
Both had Ellensburg blue agates fashioned into their wedding rings after Grace Elkins found the stones during her rockhounding years in the 1970s, according to a Yakima Herald-Republic article in 2000.
Friends said they were well known around the Ellensburg area for their many activities.
"They were just kind of always there," said Roylene Crawford, manager of the visitor center at the Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce. "Every time that I would see them, they would be together."
Charles Elkins retired from the AT&T telephone company, where he maintained transmission towers, said Marvin Kelley, a longtime friend.
Grace Elkins grew up in Roslyn, where her father was a miner, Kelley said. She was a local historian and served two stints as curator of the Kittitas County Historical Museum between 1991 and 2001, according to a biography by the museum.
Along with Kelley, Charles Elkins was instrumental in building the fairgrounds' Frontier Village, a popular collection of reconstructed buildings that includes an antique school and store.
"He was the guy I asked for help, and he was always right there," said Kelley, who served on the fair board with Charles Elkins.
Grace Elkins helped tend flowers on the fairgrounds for many years and wrote historical accounts about the fair.
Both also were active at Olmstead State Park, a working farm on an original homestead southeast of Ellensburg.
The couple had three surviving children and several grandchildren, according to an anniversary notice published in the Yakima Herald-Republic last fall.
Arrangements are pending through Steward and Williams Tribute Center in Ellensburg.