Dean VANDERWALL (04/01/1919 - 07/13/2013)

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VANDERWALL, Dean (Age 94) Longtime area resident Dean Vanderwall, 94, of Pullman passed away on Saturday July 13, 2013 at Pullman Regional Hospital. Memorial services will be held at St. James Episcopal Church on Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 11:00AM with the Rev. Mary Beth Rivetti officiating. A reception will follow at the church parish hall. He was born Prescott Dean Vanderwall on April 1, 1919 to James and Evelyn (Ford) Vanderwall at Lancer, Saskatchewan, Canada. He obtained his United States Citizenship in 1932 and graduated from Eastern State College (now Eastern Washington University) in 1941. He was employed as a junior high teacher in Rainer, Washington until May 1942 where he taught music and gave individual lessons on musical instruments as well as conducting band and choir class. In September of 1942 he entered the United States Army at Spokane and served as a clerk for two years and was honorably discharged in February 1946. While stationed in Sacramento, Dean played the organ for the Presbyterian Church and it was there in 1945 that he met his future wife of 67 years Ruth Bedell. The two were married on July 17, 1946 in a ceremony at the Baptist Church. Ever one to continue his education, Dean attended classes at the University of Michigan and earned his Masters Degree in Library Science. He and Ruth moved to Bethany, West Virginia where he served as librarian at Bethany College. They returned to the Pacific Northwest where Dean took many musicology classes at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1956 Dean was offered a job as the Humanities Librarian at the University of Idaho and four years later accepted a position as Humanities Librarian at Washington State University. He was known to be an expert in his field, helping countless students over the years locate the materials they needed to complete their research. He and Ruth both retired from Washington State University in 1982. Whether it was traveling the world so that he could play the famous church organs of Europe (including the Canterbury Cathedral in England) or being involved in many community causes here at home, Dean did not let retirement slow him down. He helped Ruth operate the Pullman Civic Theater for nearly 30 years and he and Ruth were driving forces behind the formation of the Idaho-Washington Concert Chorale and the Washington-Idaho Symphony. In 2010, Dean and Ruth were honored by the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre in Moscow for their 50 years of patronage of the arts where they were very strong contributors and supporters. Quite frequently one could find the Vanderwalls driving off to Seattle early on a Saturday morning to catch the matinee of the current running Opera. Dean played the organ at St. James, a ministry he served in for 30 years. Upon his "retirement" as organist at St. James, he sang in the St. James choir and often filled in as organist at the Pullman Presbyterian Church. He loved to garden, spend time with his family and serve as the family photographer. Dean is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ruth at their home in Pullman; son Duncan (Deb) Vanderwall of Pullman and daughter Annette (John) Klei of Gordonville, Virginia; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and two siblings. In lieu of floral tributes, the family requests memorial donations be directed to the Washington Idaho Symphony or to St. James Episcopal Church. KIMBALL FUNERAL HOME of PULLMAN has been entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

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Kimball Funeral Home
905 S Grand Ave
Pullman, WA 99163
(509) 334-3303
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Published in Spokesman-Review on July 18, 2013