Uncle Dave's book

Monday, February 8, 2016

Valentine's Day Family Love Stories #3: Edith and Luke

          Edith Rosetta Stefani in 1913 was quite an unusual young girl.  She had been the only girl to graduate from her class at the age of 14 and had then gone on to Business College in Seattle in 1899. This was unusual at the time.  She then worked in several businesses in Seattle, taking the ferry across Lake Washington.  She lived in Seattle during the week and came home on the weekend. She walked to and from the ferry, a walk of two or more miles.  She'd been doing this for several years when in 1913 someone told her that Dr. Oakford Kells' brother also took the ferry. She met Lucas Kells at the doctor's house and they began to take the ferry together.His friend, Paul Dubar, also took the ferry and she later told her children that she had to run to keep up with them as their strides were so much longer than hers! She was 18 in 1913 and Luke was 31.  A month after they started taking the ferry he asked her out and after that he took her somewhere once a month. Luke was a Philosophy Professor at the University of Washington having gotten his PhD at Columbia University in New York. But he was switching to law during this time. I'm sure he was ready to settle down and find a wife and Edith must have impressed him.

     So he courted her.  We see pictures of her at this time and she is lovely, fashionable, outgoing.  There are several photos of them with friends and Luke is there looking out of place. Obviously he is there for her. He succeeded because they were married in her parents' home on 15 Aug 1916. His brother, Duncan, was his best man. Her sister Mary was her maid of honor. His sister Marion came and sang while his sister-in-law, Ethel, Oakford's wife, played the piano. It was truly a family wedding.  I have her wedding book which includes a newspaper account of the wedding. It says, "...The rooms, tastefully decorated with a profusion of ferns and sweet peas, presented a very festive appearance...The bride was gowned in ivory satin with a bouquet of white bridal roses.  The maid of honor's gown was of pale blue crepe de chene[sic] with a boquet[sic] of pink roses....An elaborate wedding dinner was served to the guests after which the bridal pair departed to their new home. Miss Stefani is a popular member of the younger society of Issaquah and Mr. Kells is a promising young attorney of Seattle. The community wishes to express their best wishes for the happiness of the young couple about to enter upon a new life."

     He courted her and won her and they lived rather happily with four children until he died  tragically of Parkinson' Disease in 1946. She never remarried and followed him in 1982.

     Her wedding book is full of old fashioned poetry. I'll end with two lines:

          "A minute ago two lives and two hearts,
              Through time and eternity now but one."


  1. I never knew they had such a huge age difference. He is quite handsome and young looking in all of the photos I had seen.

  2. I imagine that the "elaborate wedding dinner" was made by the bride's mother, who must have been excited to have her eldest daughter so well matched to a "promising young attorney"! I have to smile, though, to think of Edith as "a popular member of the younger society of Issaquah"! She did have a sense of humor and a natural laugh, though.