Elsie Irene Harkins

Elsie Irene Harkins, age 93, of Winslow Green died Jan. 20.

She was born April 23, 1908 in McKinley, Minn., to James and Mary Ella (Pearce) Shimmin.

She started music lessons in 1920, and soon played what listeners called “a hot piano.”

On Aug. 28, 1929, before listeners of Butte, Montana’s first radio station KGIR, she and Bill Harkins exchanged vows in that state’s first broadcast wedding.

Her interest in music led to a 17-year stint as a pianist for the ensemble “The Harkins Jazzadores,” of which her husband was the leader.

When the new radio station began, it hired the Jazzadores to play dinner music each night from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

The orchestra also played country dances, high school proms, special events at Columbia Gardens, and weekend engagements at Gregson Hot Springs.

In addition to her musical talents, she worked as office manager for Harkins Wholesale for over 65 years.

She was a member of the OES Juniors Order of the Eastern Star, and attended the local Presbyterian Church.

She moved to Bainbridge Island in 1992, where she made many close friends and attended Eagle Harbor Congregational Church.

For seven years, she was a volunteer at Bargain Boutique, the Children’s Hospital Thrift Store, where she tagged items to be place on sale in the store. She averaged 33 hours of volunteer work each month in 1997-98.

She is survived by two daughters, Virginia (Chuck) Davis of Dillon, Mont., and Willie (Dr. Fred) Grimm of Bainbridge Island; grandchildren Chuck and Connie Davis, Jr., Bill and Marsha Davis, John and Barbara Davis, Melanie Davis, Mike and Melissa Grimm, Allison and Gian Basili, Andy and Terry Grimm, and Jeff and Stephanie Grimm; 13 great-grandchildren; one sister-in-law, Edna Harkins, Butte, Mont.; and two nephews and one niece in Montana.

Funeral services will be Jan. 26 in Butte, Mont.

A local memorial service will be held at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church on Bainbridge Island at a later date.

Memorials can be made to the Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle.

Arrangements are under the direction of Kass Funeral Home, Bainbridge Island.