AUBURN, Wash. - The members of Lodge 11 announce the Dec. 8, 1998 passing of Sis. Mary G. Barquist, secretary of the former Lodge 783 which merged with Lodge 11 in 1996, at Frontier Care Center in Longview, Wash. She was 87.
Sis. Barquist was born Oct. 28, 1911, to Matt and Matilda Petchnik in Kummer, near Black Diamond, Wash. When she was 3 the family moved to a farm in Krain, and she lived in the area her entire life. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Slovenia and spoke only their native tongue at home; when she started school she spoke no English. But by the time she graduated from Green River School at the end of the eighth grade she was remarkably literate, enough so that she would eventually serve as senior correspondent for the Enumclaw Courier-Herald.
Sis. Barquist was actively involved in Slovenian activities, serving as a delegate to both AFU and SNPJ conventions. She had served as secretary of Lodge 738 for nearly 30 years and later founded Lodge 783, serving as its Lodge secretary for 20 years. She also made numerous contributions to PROSVETA over the years.
In addition to her SNPJ and AFU activity, she was also active in the Enumclaw Senior Center and participated in many of its functions. She will most likely be best remembered locally for her "Senior Spotlight" columns which appeared regularly in The Courier-Herald for roughly 20 years.
She worked for several years during World War II at the White River Mill. She quit in 1947 after suffering a severe stroke from which she almost fully recovered, but was bothered with residual paralysis in the eyes and eyelids which caused her some vision and balance problems.
Sis. Barquist had two sons with her first husband, Steve Balint, and in 1948 married her second husband, Bill Barquist, who died in 1967.
She is survived by a sister, Sylvia Manowski of Enumclaw; two sons, Stephen "John" Balint and his wife Jean of Denver, and Matthew "Gene" Balint and his wife Charlotte of Longview; and nine grandchildren with two more on the way. She was preceded in death by a brother, William Petchnick.
Services for Sis. Barquist were conducted on Dec. 14 at Weeks' Enumclaw Funeral Home officiated by the Rev. Fred Davis. Burial followed in Enumclaw Memorial Park.
On behalf of the members of Lodge 11 and the Slovene National Benefit Society, our sympathies to Sis. Barquist's family and many friends on their loss.