Duncan MacLeod: Yakima’s Renaissance Man

by on Jul 6, 2012

Duncan MacLeod, Yakima's Renaissance Man. Photos by Chad Bremerman.

It’s hard to imagine living a day in the life of Yakima’s Duncan MacLeod. But with a name like that, a man’s bound to be far from ordinary.

“I make a hobby out of picking up hobbies,” says MacLeod, the 39-year-old pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, whose laid-back manner belies the number of pastimes he’s picked up over the years.

“I’m a poly-hobbyist.”

“Poly-hobbyist” is a term he and his twin brother, Alex, use to describe their constant desire for more sideline interests.

Of Scottish descent, MacLeod and his brother were raised in Edmonds by their mother and grandparents. His grandfather, Norman A. Krebbs, was both a professor at Whitworth and a pastor. Although MacLeod grew up in a religious household, as a child he didn’t imagine following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

But follow he did.

In 1991 MacLeod began his undergraduate Philosophy degree at the University of Colorado, but left in the middle of his studies to become a missionary to college athletes in St. Petersburg, Russia.

He lived in Russia for six months, and contrary to his younger self, says this is where he found his calling to ministry. “I had several pretty dramatic faith experiences,” he says. And though he preferred not to go into detail, he said these experiences led him through dramatic personal growth.

MacLeod returned to Colorado, but left school in 1996, just two classes shy of a degree. On the road again, he went west to California, getting into youth ministry, and meeting his future wife, Shannon. They married in 1998 and now have three children. Each was born in a different state of the U.S.

He finally earned his Bachelors degree in 2003 from California State University at Hayward and his  Master’s of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary in 2006.

In 2009, MacLeod said he was called to Yakima’s Westminster Presbyterian Church.

“I’m a northwest kid,” says MacLeod.

“I knew Yakima, but I had never lived in it. There was a chance to be close to my family again.” 

MACLEOD HAS BEEN an outdoor enthusiast since his youth.

While an undergrad, he worked as a whitewater rafting guide during the summer months. He now adds fly-fishing, bird hunting and all kinds of boating to his growing list of interests. He’s even building a wooden drift boat in his garage.

He and Alex like a challenge too — they recently donned blue body paint while taking on the 3.55 mile Warrior Dash — an extreme obstacle course in North Bend.

“[It’s] a big excuse to go be silly, celebrate your warrior spirit and have fun,” says MacLeod. But don’t underestimate its difficulty — from scaling walls to jumping fire, it’s far from a novice course. MacLeod also brews beer, makes wine, plays the banjo and gardens. (His brother, adding to their shared “poly-hobbyist” lexicon, is involved in urban sheparding and also plays the fiddle.)

When asked how he fits it all in, MacLeod humbly responds, “The hobbies are seasonal, so they aren’t all the time.”

Shannon supports his “poly-hobbyist” lifestyle.

“She loves that I do it,” he says, quipping, “Just bring home the salmon.”

Today he chooses hobbies that also involve his children — like farming and bee-keeping. And although they live in a residential neighborhood, they’re still able to raise chickens and pigs on a nearby piece of farm property. Each child has his or her own chicken.

MacLeod’s easy smile, Scottish heritage and adventuresome spirit make his Sunday sermons — and his Celtic midnight masses — anything but dull. Ultimately, though, he’s a family man who couldn’t be happier here.

“Yakima is sort of a paradise,” he says. “Everything I’d like to do is within a few minutes away.”



MACLEOD’S FAMILY IMMIGRATED TO IDAHO from Scotland in 1904, and he has been wearing a kilt since age three.

“Each family has their own tartan,” he says, referring to some kilts’ unique plaid pattern. MacLeod was married in a dress kilt.

The traditional dress kilt is typically worn to weddings and funerals, but in recent years, the “Utilikilt” — something MacLeod describes as an “urban rough and tumble kilt” — has become popular. Since it has several pockets and hammer hooks, much like cargo pants, MacLeod wears his Utilikilt while doing woodwork, construction and even bird hunting, a tradition he’s taken up with Alex.

The two brothers even wore their Utilikilts during the Warrior Dash.

MacLeod feeds the family pigs.

MacLeod catches a King Salmon on The Wind River.

MacLeod is a woodworker. He is currently building a wooden drift boat.

MacLeod retrieves a swarm of bees from an arborvitae bush.

The bees swarm around their nesting location, built by MacLeod.

MacLeod daringly lifts the bees - in kilt...eeks!

Chickens run freely on the MacLeod family farm.

MacLeod smiles after discovering some of his chicken's eggs.

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Helping Animals is a Bark in the Park

by on Sep 8, 2011

One of last year's participants in "Bark in the Park." Photo courtesy of Laurel Burk Sherman.

By Scott Klepach Jr.

If dogs are our best friends, then why not take them to a party?

Believe it or not, you can do just that right here in Yakima.

The third annual “Bark in the Park” event, a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Central Washington, is Sept. 17 at the Yakima Greenway next to the Humane Society.

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Fair Food!

by on Sep 8, 2011

Bradly Johnson shows off hand-dipped ice cream. Photo by Jennifer Dagdagan.

By Heather Caro

The world would be a better place if there were more foods on sticks. There. We’ve said it.

Thankfully, we’ve found like-minded folks at the annual Central Washington State Fair. Each autumn, “fair food” makes mouths water with over-the-top treats — and many are served on sticks. So grab your cholesterol medication and prepare to eat sinfully as we taste our way through Yakima’s State Fair Park.

Young Life Barbecue – The enticing aroma wafting from meats rotating on the Young Life Barbecue spit could tempt even the most devoted vegetarian. This perennial booth is known for serving up saucy treats — including yummy barbecue beef sandwiches — and luring generations of fairgoers.

Dairy Barn – This small booth offers some of the yummiest ice cream around. Try the Mud & Cream, a Bavarian brownie topped with marshmallow cream, hot fudge, vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with crunchy nuts. The sugary treat is made to be shared, so be sure to ask for an extra spoon.

Curly Fries – Who can say no to a giant brick of deep-fried potatoes? Be sure to pick up a carton of the curly comfort food when visiting the fair — and don’t forget the ketchup.

Lamburgers – The Lamburger booth has been fair staple since 1925. Run by the Washington State Sheep Producers Women’s Auxillary, these ladies know their lamb. Their tasty burgers topped with homemade relish make our fair food short list, and the booth’s classic signage brings nostalgic charm to every bite.

Elephant Ears – Doughy deep-fried goodness smothered in cinnamon and sugar — no visit to the fair could be complete without an elephant ear. The classic confection can be found at any number of fair booths, but we love the hand-thrown beauties made by the St. Paul Cathedral School booth. Be sure to bring your appetite — these giant ears live up to their pachyderm moniker.

Corn on the Cob – Fair food is not exactly known for being good for you, but grilled sweet corn may be a healthful alternative to the deep fryer, and one that won’t leave patrons wanting. Even when drizzled with butter and sprinkled with salt, we’re fairly certain it still counts as a veggie. Or is it a grain? Who cares!

Walla Walla Burger – Piled high with the grilled sweet onions known the world around, these burgers are so tasty they are worth the after-dinner mints required later. Not quite onioned-out? Try the battered onion rings served here … but only if you have a very tolerant sweetheart.

Cotton Candy – What’s not to love about a spun sugar beehive? Bags of the timeless carnival confection can be found hanging from plenty of booths, but true aficionados prefer the fluffy, colorful candy eaten straight from the stick.

And to wash it all down …

The Saloon – The over-21 crowd may enjoy libations from the Saloon on Rodeo Drive near the Lamburger booth. Cold beer and “cowboy drinks” are available, as well as a cool place to sit a spell and people watch. For those so inclined, The Wine Shop and Garden located in the Agricultural building annex will also feature wines by the glass, micro brews and wine slushies. The garden is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily during the fair.

The Central Washington State Fair has been an annual tradition in Yakima since 1892. From livestock to grandstand shows, carnival rides to giant vegetables, the fair celebrates the agricultural background of the Valley and serves up a heaping helping of nostalgia on the side. This year the theme is “The Fair is in the Air,” and it will run from Sept. 23-Oct. 2.

For fair details, including hours of operation, ticket prices and daily schedule, visit fairfun.com.

Read the Yakima Herald-Republic’s Sept. 22 edition of On magazine for more fair coverage as well as a daily schedule.

Terri Standfill tries out a crispy curly fry at last year's fair.

A chocolate and vanilla ice cream cone made by Laura Haufek.













Courtney Frame stretches out a huge Elephant Ear at last year's fair.










Lemons stacked at a booth at last year's fair.

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Back-to-the-Future Remodel

by on Sep 8, 2011


Karen and Jim Gilbert raised the ceilings on their new kitchen, installed skylights, and replaced dark cabinets with white cabinets, brightening a formally dark room. (by Sara Gettys/Yakima Herald-Republic)

By Melissa S. Labberton

How do you transform a 1970s house, complete with a rabbit warren of dark paneled rooms, in order to suit a 21st century lifestyle? That was the question that confronted Karen and Jim Gilbert in 2008 when their Realtor showed them just that in Terrace Heights. The home, while dated, was close to the Yakima Country Club, where Jim works as the golf pro.

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A Whimsical Cottage Garden Escape

by on Jul 8, 2011


Photo by Chad Bremmerman


By Melissa S. Labberton

Photos by Chad Bremmerman

Marrying her passion for gardening and collecting, third-grade teacher Claudia Tabayoyon has transformed her small backyard into a delightful retreat from her busy life. Her whimsical cottage garden was featured in the Yakima Area Arboretum’s annual tour of gardens this year — and for good reason.

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Style Freak: Seduced by Color

by on May 6, 2011

By Pamela Edwards

Photos by Stephen Stokesberry

I’m pretty sure I was in primary school when I became aware of my fascination with color. Mrs. Evans was passing out the solid sheets of colored poster paper and the last sheet had a cloudy effect of all the colors blended together. Right then and there I was transported. Fortunately, she was a tenderhearted soul and gave me the sheet, but I wouldn’t fulfill the required craft project and ruin such perfect beauty. Needless to say, I was profiled “day dreamer” on that tiny report card.

Fast-forward to charming, sunny Yakima with my husband, Stephen, of 25 years and I’m still a day dreamer. The view outside my window is the chicken coop that Stephen is building for our four very fat hens. There, a shocking yellow forsythia branch bends gracefully toward a weathered blue window. The two colors complement one another and I grab Stephen’s camera. He has a knack for finding and fixing all sorts of things and I take full advantage of his many talents. Part cabinetmaker, part artist, part historian and photographer, I thank the fates daily for pairing us. We feed each other’s need for creativity.

Born scavengers, we can be serious junk-yard and salvage hunters. For six years we ran an antique and home décor store in Seattle. We learned together and still cherish that stage of our lives. It was exhausting, exhilarating and the learning curve was steep. We were featured in a national magazine, won awards and made many new friends. I fine-tuned my furniture placement skills, played with color and learned that retail is a tough and exciting business.

A student of color, I never cease to be amazed by its many ranges. How many shades of green are there, anyway? I googled that and the answer is: infinite. Green, blue and yellow are my current favorite “neutrals” along with their parents, cream and ivory. Just don’t be too shocked by the coral and hot pink pillowcases peeking out under a mountain of my neutrals. I am so easily led astray …

My workweek allows me creative diversity as I have the pleasure of managing the Gift Shop at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. There I can play with product and color, creating small vignettes, one of my favorite pastimes. When customers ask me what style and colors I use in my home, there is no easy answer. The whole house is a “studio” where I stage collections. I start out creating a minimalist, modern country corner and in creeps layers of fabric, pillows and paintings in a riotous mix of color.

Understated and serene, modern country is one of my favorite styles, and I try to have a couple of areas in the main living spaces where this is achieved. It gives the eye a chance to rest before scanning up to the new accent color adorning the stairway wall. The real beauty of modern country is its simplicity. An old dresser with beautiful lines holds a vase. No catchall for coins, keys or crammed with family photos; the dresser takes center stage and the opposite wall can be festooned with the botanical prints you adore. Certain pieces of furniture need space and breathing room. Why can’t that pine dresser with hand-carved details (hiding in the basement) live upstairs? Just remember that this look is all about keeping it simple and comfortable. Modern and country live together harmoniously with a turquoise dresser found somewhere in Iowa, if memory serves me right!

Color can and will enhance your mood. Find the colors that “transport” you and you will have found what I like to call, your “color core.” It takes time, patience and a quiet place to reflect about what truly makes you happy.

I’m not an expert on design or color; but more like a student. I have the oil pastels but lack the discipline to read the book on blending colors. Darn daydreamer! Darn report cards!

Photo by Jennifer Dagdagan

Style Freak is a new column — devoted to home and fashion that’s beautiful and trendy — that will publish in every other issue of Yakima magazine.

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