Serving the community since 1922

Marlene Swan gives a lifetime of service to community

Since the 1950s, Marlene Swan has tirelessly volunteered her time and energy to various Wasco organizations. Through her acts of kindness and service, her commitment and dedication have made an impact on the community.

Marlene was born in 1932 in Wasco and attended all local schools, including Wasco High School.

"It was there that I first became involved with different things. There were the parades the FFA put on then, and the adults got that started, but I also helped out. My mom volunteered at the grammar and high schools, so you can say I have the volunteer blood in me by family."

She graduated from WHS in 1950 and went on to Fresno State University. Afterward, she came back and taught at Wasco Elementary School and then joined her husband in Hawaii, where she was able to teach for a year.

In 1960, she was invited to join Delta Kappa Gamma, an educational society (North Kern Area Teachers). "We mainly worked with and helped new teachers get adjusted and recruited new teachers. We worked for the betterment of new teachers and ourselves, too. I'm still a member."

The Wasco Historical Society Museum also has had Marlene as an active member since the 1980s. Through her involvement, she has played a crucial role in ensuring that future generations can connect with and appreciate the roots of Wasco.

"We got a group together at one of our high school reunions that was interested in preserving Wasco's history, and once we made it official and secured the name and board members, they made me the first president of the Historical Society. I have mainly served in a membership position trying to get people to join."

"The society is still a society, and we purchased the building; it was the Hamlin School in the beginning."

"I put books together of papers and pictures that are interesting from the past. We have a lot of old Wasco news and high school annuals, relics and other items. They can talk to me. I know a lot of history. As they look, I try to answer questions."

"It was important to me that we keep our Wasco history, and people are not really interested in doing that now anymore, but we do keep the museum open once every month. They can call me at 758-2181 to see it, and it can be opened by appointment."

Now, the museum is run solely by Marlene and Bob Ellis. It is through their unwavering efforts that the museum is kept alive.

Marlene's involvement in the Wasco Woman's Club is equally uplifting. As a longtime member of over 20 years, including serving as president, she has contributed to numerous projects.

"We host a prom for the special needs students at the high school and a Christmas party with Santa for them. We sponsor a Rose Queen and HOBY candidate, hold a local candidates forum, give to the scholarship fund and support other organizations that are fundraising."

"We meet once a month for a luncheon and guest speakers. It's a chance for fellowship with the other ladies and talk about our projects."

She is also a proud member of the Wasco Elk Ladies, which she joined in 1995. "Our main business is taking care of the meals for the funerals and burials of Wasco Elks members. We also visit with the CSO young adults and do art projects with them, raise money for scholarships for children and grandchildren of Elks members for college and help pay for expenses related to the lodge when we can."

At 90 years old, with much of that time volunteering and teaching for 30 years, Marlene said, "I've enjoyed Wasco very much. If I've done a little bit of good, I'm proud of myself for that."


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