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Verna Mae Thormahlen

Verna Mae Thormahlen Obituary
Verna Mae Thormahlen

Beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend,

died peacefully July 23, 2018 at Good Shepherd Home in Shoreline, Washington.

The daughter of Vilas (Si) and Hazel Berto, Verna was born 92 years ago in the remote village of Pilot Station, Alaska. Her parents were teachers for the U.S. government at this time. When she was 2 years old, the family returned to Washington, living on homesteaded land near Mount Rainier with Verna's maternal grandparents. Teaching jobs brought her parents to Renton, Lake Forest Park and Bellevue, and the family settled on the shores of Lake Washington where Verna spent most of the remainder of her life.

A graduate of Central Washington

College of Education in Ellensburg, Verna taught kindergarten in West Seattle until she met and married the love of her life, Ernest Thormahlen. They lived together happily for 51 years until Ernie's death in 2000.

Their home was located next door to her parents in the town of Houghton. Verna loved to discuss her town's history where her father had been its first mayor. The Thormahlen and Berto properties were a gathering place for family with reunions drawing relatives from across the state for the annual Berto and Dunaway Picnics.

Verna loved her church, music, plants, scenery, and sunsets. She cherished life-long friendships with church members and travelled in her later years with several women who called themselves "The Merry Widows." She performed for 20 years with the Kirkland Congregational Church Bell Choir, and she and Ernie rarely missed a musical production at the 5th Ave Theatre. Verna knew the names of each rhododendron in her yard, loved to take scenic drives, and enjoyed many birthdays walking the trails at Paradise on Mount Rainier. When at home, you could count on finding her watching the sunset from her living room chair.

The greatest joy in Verna's life was her family. She raised a son and daughter and delighted in the lives of her two grandchildren. At the end of each family event she would always ask, "Now, when are we getting together again?"

Verna is survived by her daughter, Ann Jenkins (Don); grandchildren, Jennifer Gill (Andy) and Chris Jenkins; and two great-granddaughters, Lucy Gill and Hazel Gill. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ernest James Thormahlen; her son, Ernest Berto Thormahlen; and her brother, Vilas John Berto.

A memorial service will be held at Kirkland Congregational United Church of Christ,

106 5th Avenue, Kirkland at 1:30 pm on September 15, 2018.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Kirkland Congregational UCC.
Published in The Seattle Times on Aug. 5, 2018
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