by: Kari Hastings, Finger food contest winners gathered at the Troutdale General Store for lunch on Wednesday, Jan. 2. In the top row, from left, are Ruth Vandenbos, Mary Lynn and Jim Sutton and Imogene Wilner. In the bottom row are Bob and Katherine Horswell.

When Gresham's Wayne Johnson was born on Jan. 1, 1946, he was one of the first babies of the New Year.

Now, he's wondering if he was the first Gresham representative of an entire generation.

There's been much discussion lately in the national press about the aging of the Baby Boomers and the toll they soon will take on the Social Security system. Because of this media attention, Johnson has become intrigued by the nation's first boomer - Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, who was born in Philadelphia one second after midnight on New Year's Day, 1946.

Johnson came along at 3 a.m. that same day. He was born to Mr. and Mrs. Willis Johnson, who were then residents of Vanport - a town that would disappear in a flood two years later.

To verify his story, Johnson has a newspaper account of the babies born that day. Another Gresham couple, Mr. and Mrs. T.R. Thomason, also became parents of a boy early on Jan. 1, 1946. If that child - now man - is still in town, he might be Gresham's first boomer, because he is listed ahead of Wayne Johnson in the newspaper story.

The baby-boom generation is generally defined as having started in 1946 and concluded in 1964, which means the oldest boomers are reaching retirement age. By that measure, Johnson is right on track. He and his wife, Shirley, have three kids, just as his parents did. They have lived here most of their lives. And Johnson retired last year from Boeing.

If you know of any Gresham-area residents born prior to Johnson on Jan. 1, 1946, give us a call - that person could well have bragging rights as the area's first boomer.



Troutdale resident Susan Bowker, the activities director at Marquis Care at Centennial, credits support from the community for her successful battle against breast cancer in the past two and a half years.

And as Bowker prepares to undergo another in a series of surgeries next week, she once again has sought - and received - help from those around her. While she is away from work for the surgery and recovery period, Bowker doesn't want the residents at Marquis to go without their regular Bingo games. So Bowker has recruited more than two dozen people to serve as 'Celebrity Bingo' callers for the next two weeks.

The list of volunteers who'll keep the Bingo games going includes: Judy Han of Sunny Han's Wok and Grill; George Arnold of Lowe's Home Improvement; Rick Stubblefield and Pat Swift of Farmer's Insurance; Therese Lambert of Miramont Pointe; Krista Davis of Courtyard Senior Living; Gresham City Councilor Carol Nielsen-Hood of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce; Janel McKenna of Oregon Health Care Foundation; Karri Bolman of MetroWest Ambulance; Gresham City Manager Erik Kvarsten; Diane McKeel of the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce; Troutdale Mayor Paul Thalhofer; Margaret Murphy Carley of Oregon Health Care Association; Rob Fussell of Brad Davis Properties; Chaplain Harold Fuller of Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center; Randi White of Adventist Health Medical Center; Gresham Police Chief Carla Piluso; Bess Wills of Gresham Ford; Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis; former Gresham City Councilor Karylinn Echols; and Angie Latta, Kathy LeVee, Scott Mill, Steve Fogg, Phil Fogg Jr., Mary Amick and Charles Bloom of Marquis Companies.



The final commitment related to our annual holiday recipe contest has now been completed - the winners of the competition agreed to sit down to lunch last week with some of The Outlook staff at Troutdale General Store.

Outlook readers Jim and Mary Lynn Sutton, Imogene Wilner, Ruth Vandenbos and Bob Horswell earned the lunch and other tokens of appreciation after they brought in the first- and second-place dishes for the contest, which this time featured holiday hors d'ouerves. We quickly realized that this finger-food category didn't attract as much interest as our previous calls for cookies and homemade candies, but we promise to make amends for that next year.

Nonetheless, Outlook judges were dazzled by the Suttons' pepperoni pizza rolls - which were a variation on an old recipe for a miner's lunch. Jim Sutton, who we discovered at lunch has West Virginia roots, ought to know something about miners.

Vandenbos is a repeat winner in The Outlook's annual contest, having taken a prize for cookies in the past. She promised during lunch to get Outlook columnist Sharon Nesbit into the Lutefisk Festival at Trinity Lutheran Church next year.

Bob Horswell, accompanied at lunch by his wife, Katherine, admitted that his spouse does most of the cooking, but he's the baker in the house. For him, cookies certainly qualify as finger food. During lunch, we heard the story of how they met when Bob was a teacher at Parkrose High School and how it took nearly a decade for them to get serious with each other.

Wilner, who lives in Gresham, also decided that finger food was a broad category. She took first place for her fake turtles.

All of the readers we dined with had two things in common - they've been reading The Outlook for a very long time, and they all like Nesbit the best.

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