By Maurice Skagen and Karen Meador/For the Reporter
The centennial of the World War I Armistice on Nov. 11 presents a timely opportunity to pay tribute to Oscar Skagen, an early Soos Creek Plateau resident and World War I veteran.
Born in North Dakota in 1892, his family came west in 1905; his grandparents had been living in Kent since the 1880s.
Active in the local community, Oscar Skagen spent most of his life as a dairy farmer on the family’s 80 acres, acquired by his parents along what is now 132nd Avenue Southeast in Kent/Auburn. When Oscar married, he and his wife, Mabel Agotness Skagen, had a house built on the lower 40 acres, the area known today as Reber Ranch. The farmhouse still stands, located behind an arborvitae hedge on the east side of 132nd Avenue Southeast, one of a number of local homes built by noted craftsman and builder Peter Englund.
Oscar Skagen passed away in 1976 at the age of 84. The lower 40 acres of the property were sold to airline pilot Darrell Reber a few years later.
Oscar and Mabel’s daughter, Blanche Skagen Speck, and husband, Otto, live across from the Reber property in a home built on the original Skagen Homestead.
Maurice Skagen is director of the Soos Creek Botanical Garden & Heritage Center and nephew of Oscar Skagen. Karen Meador is a local author and historian.