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Alma (Ayling) Schreiber



Alma Schreiber, 86, died peacefully at her Electric City, Washington, home on Wednesday, August 17, 2016. She was born June 14, 1930, in Great Falls, Montana, to James and Alma (Lehman) Ayling. The oldest of nine children, Alma was "JoJo" to her brothers and sisters. In 1934 her family moved to the Grand Coulee, Washington area, and this is where Alma called "home" for the remainder of her life. The family settled in the Osborne area, originally making their home in a tent with a dirt floor, which was not unusual at the time. The 1939 Osborne town directory lists their address in a spot where Banks Lake now covers. At that time the population of Osborne was 652, Electric City was 1,741 and Delano had a population of 673.

Alma was 11 years old on December 7, 1941. In the early 1940s, the family relocated to the Lone Pine area, just north of Coulee Dam, Washington. Alma attended Mason City High School (The Mason City Beavers) in what is now Coulee Dam. She graduated in 1948, the same year Mason City was incorporated into Coulee Dam, and thus was part of the first graduating class to receive a Coulee Dam High School diploma, which she still has in her drawer at home.

After high school, Alma worked as a waitress at the Green Hut cafe, where the visitor center now stands. It was there that she became reacquainted with a young man, Ron Schreiber, a lifelong Electric City resident who had just arrived home, discharged from his tour in the Navy on September 20, 1949. They were married in Coulee Dam on November 26, 1949.

Alma and Ron purchased their first home site in Electric City in 1955. Other than some temporary addresses necessary to follow various construction work, as Ron was an ironworker, they always lived at the same Electric City address. During their early married years Alma was employed as a secretary at both the Colville Agency and the USBR. However, her most enjoyable employment was as Head Cook in the Grand Coulee Schools from 1973 – 1990. She so enjoyed the kids each year and making sure they had the best-tasting, most-nutritional meals (including bread made from scratch), always staying within her school budget. Budgeting and stretching a dollar to provide good meals is something that came naturally to a lady whose roots included temporarily living in a tent during the depression era.

Alma and Ron enjoyed traveling, and traveled extensively in their retirement years. Their trips included tours/visits to Europe, China, Russia, many trips to Canada and Mexico, and numerous cruises. For Alma's 65th birthday her kids bought her, and other family members, a week-long raft trip through the Grand Canyon. That and a Disney cruise with the grandkids and great-grandkids are the trips she most loves to reminisce about. For many winters Ron and Alma would "snowbird" to Arizona with their "5th Wheel," which included stays in both established parks and just "boondocking" in the desert. All that, and camping at Swan Lake with "the kids," created treasured family memories that span generations.

Alma was preceded in death by her first brother, Walt (Luann) Ayling, and her sister Mary (Steve) Boller. She is survived by her husband, Ron Schreiber; her daughter, Laura, of Buckeye, Arizona; son, Roger (Pam), of Electric City; and six remaining brothers and sisters: Eloise (Ken) Bowman, Electric City; Frank (Dorothy) Ayling, Wenatchee; Moya Barton, Roseburg, Oregon; Deets (Patti) Ayling, Grand Coulee; Derinda (Steve) Foster and Cholette Ayling, both of Emmet, Idaho; three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, one great-great-granddaughter, and many extended family members. Each of the above family members was able to travel to Grand Coulee and spend time with Alma this July. She so loved the times spent with "all the kids." She is beloved by her family and will always be fondly remembered.

At Alma and Ron's request there will not be a formal service held. Her family will gather to celebrate her life at a time yet to be determined.

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