Letter: A fond farewell to one of Peninsula's great women

Red and Smokey O'Connell's cafe in Ilwaco was a key gathering place and the first employer of many who grew up here.<BR><I>Photo reproduced from the Ilwaco Tribune</I>

I received the sad news regarding the death of Helen O'Connell, better known to the kids from IHS, as Smokey. I worked at Red's in Long Beach. I am a 1953 graduate of IHS.

Smokey was a mentor of mine. She influenced me and guided me during troubled times and continued throughout my life to be a supportive, loving, friend, and a surrogate grandmother to both my son and daughter. She encouraged and supported me. She is the reason that I had the courage to get on a bus, with $15 in my pocket and head for California, not a usual thing to do in the '50s.

She was loved so much, and will be missed by all of "us kids."

Jackie Orander

Royal Oak, Mich.

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