Sally Fay Alma|
September 25, 1915 ~ April 19, 2014
Our dear Mother, Sally Fay Alma,
died peacefully on Saturday, April 19, in Hailey, ID surrounded by her loving family.
Sally was born in Tabowie (now Unsan), North Korea. She was the fifth of six children born to Adelrick and Elizabeth Benziger. In 1912, the family had left New York, traveling to Vienna, Moscow, and then Tabowie, via the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Adelrick had taken a position there with the Oriental Consolidated Mining Co.
Their time in Korea lasted seven years, ending shortly after their youngest daughter died as an infant. In August 1919, Elizabeth and the five remaining children returned to America, sailing for Vancouver BC, and then travelling across Canada back to the family home on Staten Island, NY. Adelrick returned in early1920, travelling from San Francisco, across the western states. Life in the East was short-lived, as his experiences westward beckoned toward the adventure of oil exploration in Oklahoma. Eventually, talk of a farming boom in Nebraska and Colorado led Sally's parents to a life on the plains.
Because quality, faith-based education was not common out West at that time, the children were sent to boarding schools in Europe or in the East. Sally went to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, IL. After her education, she fell in love with the wide open spaces, and all creatures great and small, especially her beloved horses. Despite the crash of '29, the Benzigers were able to purchase the Diamond Tail Ranch near Laramie, WY, moving there in 1931.
Aside from operating a full-scale cattle ranch, they occasionally hosted guests from the East. In 1941, one of their guests was a tall, handsome Dutchman, H. Willem Alma. Wim and Sally fell madly in love, and married five months later in New York. Their life together took them to San Francisco, and eventually to Seattle in 1948.
In 1949, they made their home in Beaux Arts Village, where Sally took the reins of homemaker and mother to their three young children. While Dad served as Honorary Consul of the Netherlands, Mom was equally at home entertaining Prince Bernard or meeting Queen Juliana, as she was herding cattle, tending her garden, acting as a den mother, or heading guilds at Sacred Heart Church. In 1969, they moved to Walnut Creek, CA for the conclusion of Dad's career, and retired to the Wood River Valley of Idaho in 1979.
They loved their retired life in the mountains of Idaho, riding horseback or skiing on every trail surrounding the Sun Valley area. Mom's indomitable faith guided her throughout her entire life. Her persona is reflected in a quote she applied to her parents and that we now feel applies to her:
"The events of our lives are like the mountains, whose size we
cannot know until we have passed by and gone on for a long time.
Looking back from the distance, you can at last measure the danger and elation and
the view from the top."
Sally is preceded in death by her parents; her three brothers and two sisters; and her husband Wim. She is survived by her children Mischa (Howard) Leendertsen of Ketchum Idaho, Willem (Shari) Alma of Kirkland WA, and Mary (John) Mills, of Bellevue, Idaho; grandchildren Elizabeth (Jim) Giedraitis, Christine (Greg) Parks, Annelise (Brett) Franklin, and Christopher Alma; and five great-grandchildren.
The family wishes to express gratitude to all the wonderful caregivers who helped make Sally's life comfortable during the last years of her life. A celebration of Mom's and Dad's lives will be held at a later date. Remembrances can be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of the Wood River Valley, PO Box 4320, Ketchum. ID 83340, or www.hpcwrv.org; or a
. Friends may share a memory, photo or story at www.woodriverchapel.com.
Published in The Seattle Times on May 4, 2014