Beloved mother, grand-mother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother Wilma Thorson passed away peacefully on 9/11/2020 at the Schneidmiller House Hospice of Northern Idaho in Coeur d’Alene surrounded by her large, loving family.
She was born in Arlington, WA on December 12, 1933 to Olive Fahey (Kyle) and Clyde James Woods. They moved briefly to the Rosedale area before settling in the Weyerhauser district on a farm on the Mountain Highway. She attended Weyerhauser Grade School and Eatonville High School. She had two brothers (Lawrence “Mickey” and C. Jerry) and three sisters (Rita, Juanita, and Verna), including a step-sister (Jackie).
In 1952, she married Dean Westby Thorson, son of Irene (Olson) and Adolph Thorson. Wilma and Dean had four children – Barbara, Dean, Jeris and Neil. They lived in the Benston area in 1954, then moved to the Weyerhauser family farm in 1958. In 1963, they “packed up the family” and moved to Montana, living briefly in East Missoula, then Lolo, and settling for many years on Donovan Creek Road near Clinton. After the kids were grown, they returned to Washington in 1988, settling permanently in Elma WA.
She was preceded in death by her husband Dean, her parents, her brothers Mickey and Jerry, her step-father Frank Rettke, and her daughter-in-law Barbara Ann (Neil), as well as many other beloved in-laws who left before her. She is survived by her children: Barbara Thorson of Missoula MT, Dean (Pam) Thorson of Rathdrum ID, Jeris Underwood (Bob) of Federal Way WA, and Neil Thorson of Coeur d’Alene ID; by her sisters Rita Druckrey of Port Orchard WA, Juanita Hagen (Ron) of Bremerton WA, Verna Peterkin of Port Orchard WA, and Jackie Rettke Gallahan of Woodbridge VA. She is also survived by 14 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews and many beloved friends.
For those who knew her, she is remembered for her many roles: Worthy Advisor of Eatonville Assembly of Rainbow for Girls, a member of Electra Chapter #7 OES of Missoula, former Mother Advisor of Missoula Rainbow Assembly #22, and she held the Honorary Degree of the Grand Cross of Color. She was a 4-H Leader (co-chartering the Horse-and-a-Half 4-H Club in Clinton with Donna Engblom and Charlotte Suzor), and served on the Missoula County 4-H Drama Festival Committee where she wrote and directed plays. She worked in the trucking industry as a bookkeeper, accounting clerk, transportation clerk and office manager for Mountain Pacific Trucking, Tiger Transportation, Ringsby, EFB, Western Transport and Pilgrims Express, all in Missoula.
She enjoyed many forms of travel (car, RV, airline, cruise ships) in her later years. She traveled to many of the lower 48 states, as well as Alaska (driving the entire Alcan Hwy with husband Dean), Hawaii, Mexico, Norway, Germany and Italy (where she rode in a Venice gondola while her son Dean serenaded her). She loved beach combing, clam digging at the ocean, loved to take long drives up into the Montana and Idaho Mountains to view the woods, see the wildlife, and she particularly loved watching the tamaracks turn golden in the fall. She was the family’s favorite cookie-baker (known as “The Cookie Lady” to many others), an award-winning soup maker and a very talented oil landscape painter. She was also a prolific quilter, providing countless beautiful quilts for family members over the years. She had a long, full, happy life until the very end, and will be greatly missed by so many.
No funeral service is planned at this time. She will rest forever with her beloved husband Dean, her parents, and many other family members at Bethany Cemetery in Pierce County WA.
Honoring her request, in lieu of flowers or memorials, she asked that her family and friends consider sending contributions to the Bethany Cemetery Board, 26418 Mountain Hwy E, Spanaway, WA 98387, specifically as a donation toward keeping the grass mowed. She was always a very practical lady.
In her own words: “I am easy to please, as long as you do it all my way.”