While residing in their two-story, 1912 craftsman home at 1201 Edison Ave. in Sunnyside for the past 44 years, Ron and Betty Stremler recognized it was the right time to make a healthy change.
“Everything came together about the same time,” Ron Stremler, former two-term council member happily announced during an interview on Thursday, Feb. 11.
They happened to preview a for sale by owner property and knew immediately it was the perfect place for them: a retirement ready mobile home rambler in Prosser. The couple promptly made an offer which was accepted.
Following the signed purchase agreement and delivery of earnest money, the Stremlers returned home on Friday afternoon. They contacted their realtor to list the 2,325 sq. ft., residence with four bedrooms and one-and-one half bathrooms, situated on an 11,441 sq. ft. lot.
By midnight on Dec. 5, the listing went active and the property was sold Saturday afternoon. Coincidentally at the same time, serious discussions about the purchase of the Stremler Transport business, which Betty has overseen since 2002, were advancing.
“We just didn’t plan on selling our house quite this quick.”
City Manager Martin Casey and Mayor Francisco Guerrero were informed about the home sale right away and Stremler believed everyone knew about the impending move.
“Probably for most people it seemed like it was all of a sudden, but it wasn’t really all of a sudden, it was seven weeks,” he explained.
That was the amount of time required for the escrow process to complete. Home improvement projects such as exterior painting and general repairs to ready their home to sell had begun last year, Stremler indicated.
The home and expansive yard in which they raised their three children had become too much for them to keep pace with physically and the stairs were a dangerous obstacle for them.
Health issues were the paramount reason they decided to sell and relocate beyond his Council District 3 representative area. Stremler has suffered six heart attacks: two of them were classified massive with one diagnosed as cardiac arrest, he revealed.
The stress of serving on the city council since 2017 had taken a significant toll on him as well.
“I hated quitting the council, Stremler acknowledged. “It actually brought tears to my eyes while I was typing up my resignation.”
The former deputy mayor added, “I felt like I was letting the citizens down. I really did.”
He wished to set the record straight and perceived his community constituents thought police department operations and its budget resources concerned him the most, but it really wasn’t, he conveyed.
“I was hoping to be able to do more toward attracting businesses into town. That was one of my primary goals, which I don’t feel I got anywhere on that here. You’re fighting city hall. And they say you don’t fight city hall and you don’t alone. Not that I was entirely alone but it takes the majority of the council and as hard as I tried, it felt like I didn’t accomplish much and yet I know I did. I know I made a difference,” Stremler thoughtfully stated.
“I enjoyed serving but it was probably the most frustrating thing I’ve ever done in my life as well,” he noted. Stremler added he’s glad he’s no longer on the council. “I probably took the job too seriously and the stress at times was immense.”
They’ve been working on building plans to enclose the garage where he will also be able to house a woodworking shop for the past couple of weeks. Their daughter Cindy and her husband Tim Acton came out for a visit and were immediately enlisted to help complete the structure.
More than two weeks have passed since they’ve moved to Benton County. The Stremlers are happy to have embarked upon a new chapter while fondly reminiscing about that July 29, 1976 day and laughing at the original character of their Sunnyside home’s purple carpet and matching wallpaper flowers.
They arrived from Lynden, a city about 15 miles north of Bellingham and 5 miles south of the Canada – U.S. border almost 45 years ago. After spending six months remodeling their home six months, they moved in. The Stremlers have seen a great deal of change take place in their old neighborhood and had to move past the memories which encompassed their hearts.
“What’s nice here is watching the Canada geese fly over so low. Yesterday, there were probably 50 to 70 that looked like giant Canada geese real low and they sit down just east of us here. Oh man that was cool to watch.”