Mildred Ahrenius Rhind

Mildred Ahrenius Rhind died peacefully at Vashon Community Care Center on June 25, 2008, after a very long, full life and a short final illness.

Rhind was born in 1909 and lived most of her life in West Seattle. Her life reflects the changing role of women in the 20th century. In the 1920s she was a flapper; she danced the Charleston on roller skates for a Pathe newsreel and drank bathtub gin.

Rhind attended West Seattle High School (class of 1927) and afterward started her long career with the Union Pacific Railroad. She began as a switchboard operator and ended as a ticket agent at the downtown Seattle office when she retired in 1969.

Following her retirement from the Union Pacific, Rhind had a second career working part-time for Washington Mutual Savings Bank in the school savings department.

Throughout the Great Depression, she hid her first marriage to avoid a railroad policy of not hiring married women. After World War II, she refused to give up her job to accommodate veterans returning to the workforce.

In 1950, Rhind married the love of her life, Orville Horace (Bill) Rhind. In the 1950s, she had her first and only child and continued her career, so she and husband and son could have a dual income and enjoy boating. Their marriage lasted until her husband’s death in 1970.

Over the years she was a member of Eastern Star, Peace Lutheran Church, Tyee Yacht Club, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Swedish Club and the West Seattle Garden Club. Rhind is survived by her son, William Rhind (partner, John Coleman) her brothers Oliver Ahrenius (Evelyn), Chuck Ahrenius (Joan) and many nieces and nephews.

Her motto in life — “Smile, say yes and do what you damn well please” — served her well, until the very end. Rhind will be greatly missed.

A private family memorial service will be held at a later date. Remembrances may be made to your favorite charity. Please sign the online guestbook at