The Odessa Record -

Meet your neighbors

James and Vivianne Poe


This week The Record begins an occasional series on newcomers to Odessa. Anyone who would like to share their stories and introduce themselves to the community is welcome to call or come by The Record's office and have a chat with us.

It's Friday morning and I am sitting down with newcomers to Odessa James and Vivianne Poe. Many of you have likely already met James at Ramm Hardware, where he has accepted a job, or Vivianne who has recently discovered a love for quilting and is newly engaged in various quilting activities.

They are a friendly and animated couple who've been married 21 years and have a love for life, preferring bike riding and skipping over driving a car. Between the two of them they have eight children, 26 grandchildren, one great grandchild and another on the way.

Vivianne moved from Aberdeen to Tacoma as a teenager where she married and raised her six children. James worked as an alcohol and substance abuse counselor from 1973 to 1994, usually finding himself working in schools or on military bases and moving wherever the job needed him to go, be it Alaska or Colorado.

Following a divorce, he was single for 10 years, left social work and moved from Denver to Tacoma in order to be closer to his two sons. He found himself living across the street from Vivianne who had been divorced for 15 years and was raising her six children.

With failed marriages behind each of them, they both had certain criteria they expected to be met if they were to ever remarry. In 1995, after finding they did indeed meet each other's standards, James proposed to Vivianne with the condition that they would relocate to warm and sunny Jerome, Ariz., a small mining/tourist town with 444 permanent residents, a beautiful place he had visited before and always wanted to live in. For a total of 12 years, they made Jerome their home on two different occasions, owning and operating a T-shirt shop. Although it was a beautiful place, they ultimately found Jerome to be too much of a tourist town. So they picked up and moved back to Washington.

Desiring to live in a small, self-contained, friendly town with a sense of community, James and Vivianne found themselves in Soap Lake, where both found jobs at the local grocery store before retiring 3.5 years ago.

Discovering that Soap Lake lacked some of the main criteria they were looking for in a place to live, they started researching and traveling to different locations when they happened upon Odessa. To them, Odessa seemed to have everything they had been looking for. It was small, friendly, self-contained, but most of all, Odessa had that sense of community that they had been missing. Immediately, Odessa felt like home, James said.

While still living in Soap Lake, they subscribed to The Odessa Record for about six months as they searched for a suitable property to buy. Finally, everything fell into place for them. They are settled in their new home and looking forward to celebrating their first Deutschesfest as residents and helpful volunteers.


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