Off Beat: Val and Dan Ogden's marriage has charming back story

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

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Dan and Val Ogden had a remarkable marriage of more than 67 years.

There also was an interesting preliminary stage to their relationship.

“I had a date with my future mother-in-law before I dated my wife,” Dan Ogden recalled recently.

That was one of the stories he shared when the community gathered Saturday at Clark College to remember Val Ogden. The longtime civic leader died on April 9; she was 90.

Dan Ogden and Val Munson met in 1946 at what then was Washington State College in Pullman.

During his World War II hitch in Europe, Dan corresponded with another girl he’d met at Washington State, Vivian Algyre.

After Dan got out of the Army, he visited the Pullman campus, and he and Vivian dated several times in April and May.

Val was Vivian’s roommate.

When the two women were part of a campus Mother’s Day show, Val’s mom showed up to see the performance.

“Someone had to escort Mrs. Munson to the show,” Dan recalled. “I did. She and I hit it off immediately.”

Lots of Girls, no guys

That summer, while waiting to attend grad school at the University of Chicago, Dan worked at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane.

“After college, Val took a job in Spokane with the Camp Fire Girls. She was from Wenatchee and knew nobody in Spokane,” he said.

And Val’s job with the Camp Fire Girls, he observed, “was not the location to find an eligible bachelor.”

Dan, meanwhile, didn’t know any girls in Spokane. “I called Val. She said, ‘Let’s be friends.’ ”


Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story or just tell a story.