Moses Lake HS sweethearts made a life and farm in Cheney
Donna and Enoch Lybbert have been heavily involved with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, including mission trips to Mexico and New Orleans.
I've heard of high school sweethearts but this one tops them all. Enoch and Donna Lybbert met in Moses Lake High School. Donna took one glance at Enoch and knew he was the man for her. However, there was a problem, she lost interest in school.
"I played hooky," she said "I was only interested in getting married."
Enoch said, "I had to write her a note. I signed her report cards." They married in 1955 and have been together for 58 years. They have five children, four girls and one boy, and are proud of their 20 grandchildren and 44 great-grandchildren.
As a married man Enoch got a job as a mechanic at a service station. "We started farming," Donna said. They worked 300 acres of farmland with Enoch's brothers, Dennis and Clifford, growing alfalfa, hay, clover and peas.
While on the farm the Lybberts branched into a unique business. Enoch said, "We raised leaf cutter bees," a Northwest type of bee.
The leaf cutter bee cuts a leaf from a branch and packs it into a hole. The bee then packs the pollen in and seals the hole. There may be a thousand holes in one branch. When the time is right the male bee is the first to come out.
"They pollinate the alfalfa seed and are 90 percent more efficient than regular bees," Enoch said.
He had another idea and made a bee board. He patented it when he and Donna moved Eastern Washington University at Cheney. Sometimes not all good ideas are accepted by others. Keep it in the back of your mind, Enoch. Maybe someday... Still living on the farm Enoch worked as a chemist at U and I Sugar Company.
At EWU Donna worked half days at Tawanka Dining Hall although she had become a busy mother. Enoch started a wholesale business with his brother Clifford. "We had three distributors in several states selling dehydrated food, wheat grinders and storage products," he said.
They sold that business. Donna adds a plus to their family by the sale of that business. She and Enoch grind their own flour and bake their own bread. I was the happy recipient of their generosity. I'd say a loaf of their homemade bread would bring several blue ribbons at the Spokane fair; too bad for the fair. I ate it all.
Enoch began a real estate business. He learned all aspects of building a house and has built two of them and helped his brothers build others.
Enoch has attended two state conventions as a precinct committeeman. He was president of Cheney SCOPE program one year. Donna has helped at the Family History Center for 10 years and has organized two others. With training in family history and in German extractions, Donna said, "I read the old German scripts and help put families together." Donna also takes care of two of her granddaughters at times.
Did I tell you Enoch drives a school bus? We wouldn't want him to be idle.
He was bishop of the Cheney Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for five years and was a loan officer for a mortgage company in Spokane Valley for three years. Both Enoch and Donna have served on church missions in Mexico and New Orleans.
"We learned Spanish and now we are practicing to be able to speak it again," Donna said.
Two people, working together, a team helping each other over the rough spots, are enjoying the smooth places. That young lady in high school had a good idea after all.
Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org