WC News from 1962 & Penny Abrahamson photos
Penny Jumonville as she appeared in the White Center News in 1962 when she was crowned Queen by the White Center Chamber of Commerce in that year. She went on to a lifetime of service.

Whirlwind adventure leads to life of service

From hamburger service to hospitality queen, young Penny Jumonville had a whirlwind adventure in the summer of 1962. Penny was too young for SeaFair but just right for the White Center Chamber of Commerce. They selected this counter clerk at Lou's Drive-In as their queen that year.

At Evergreen High Penny did not stand out. She was not part of the IN crowd. Her near straight A average and excellent work at the hamburger drive-in impressed only her boss Lou Dapas and her parents. Penny's charm and beauty did not go unnoticed however.

Jim Palmateer, Chamber prexy, was so impressed with her he promoted the idea that she could ride the White Center Float and enter the SeaFair royalty contest. Since Penny was not yet 18 it wasn't to be. Palmateer knew Lou Dapas. He knew that Penny had marched around White Center three years earlier, at age 14, with little pieces of paper fashioned as business cards to leave behind for prospective employers. Dapas hired her that same year. Penny worked a 40-hour week through her high school years. She needed to help her family get by as her mom and dad had split up the previous year. She gave her paycheck to her mom each week.

Lou was a good boss. He worked long hours and noticed that Penny did too. He gave her a $40 bonus one year. It was a lot of money. Penny bought herself a warm black winter coat. We're thinking mom approved.

As hospitality queen in 1962 Penny's duties were to represent the White Center community at public events, including SeaFair and local parades. With two other local girls Penny attended a variety of breakfasts and fundraisers. It was an important time for her. Her exposure to the movers and shakers in White Center helped her land a job at the World's Fair that same summer. Penny took tickets and sold programs.

It was a lightbulb moment near the end of June at the Fair. Billy Graham's Crusade would be coming to the stadium in July. Penny decided to go. It changed her life. It was the most important decision she ever made.

With lots of emotions stirring she dropped her full tuition scholarship at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. She felt honored but conflicted. After one semester she came back to White Center taking a job at Sparkman & McLean mortgage and escrow. She needed to help her mom who was taking classes of her own at Seattle Pacific.

By the fall of 1963 Penny was able to return to college where she majored in chemistry and worked part-time at the Oregon Medical School. After three years of pre-med she decided to change abruptly to English. She'd witnessed the physicians' workload as lifelong and realized she may not have time to devote to Jesus and be a great doctor.

Penny also wanted to marry. In 1964 she met her husband Allen. Within a 10 days of getting married she and Allen were off to Fort Polk, Louisiana where Allen began work as an operating room technician. Penny worked at the base hospital for the commanding officer. The Army life completed, Allen finished his education to begin teaching high school and eventually work in Portland Schools administration while Penny was the homemaker. Penny did some insurance work and later ran a medical transcription service.

Enter the Big C. Penny went through the most difficult time of life dealing with breast cancer. Through God she learned to cope. She survived gratefully. Soon after she and Allen spent a few years in Israel.

Now 46 years and four children later, Penny and Allen live a reverent life in Portland, Oregon where they volunteer at Chosen People Ministries. The young girl from White Center who only wanted to help her mom during a tough time, when she took her first job at the service counter, is still serving others. To those we guess, she is still a queen.

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