Members of the Ocean Shores community gathered on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 8, to celebrate the life of late Mayor Crystal Dingler.
Dingler died on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. The gathering was held at the Ocean Shores Convention Center with family, co-workers, and members of the public in attendance. Speakers included Mayor Jon Martin, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer and Crystal’s daughter Elizabeth Dingler.
Crystal was born in Lynnwood on a 5-acre family farm that is now crossed by Interstate 5. According to Elizabeth, Crystal developed a dislike of chickens from the chore of collecting eggs. She worked as a switchboard operator after high school, and was set up by a co-worker with a young Navy man named Dean, whom she later married.
Crystal earned a bachelor’s degree, and later a master’s degree in English and writing from the University of Washington while being a parent to three children. She later attended law school at the University of Puget Sound, and passed the Washington Bar Exam when she was 50 years old.
Crystal retired in 2000, and pursued her interest in genealogy while traveling around the country in a recreational vehicle with her husband Dean. After tracing her family history all the way back to the Revolutionary War, they selected Ocean Shores as their desired retirement location.
She began her service in Ocean Shores by serving on the Library Board, and was later appointed its president. Crystal then served on the Ocean Shores City Council, and stepped up to lead the city during a tumultuous time. She was a dedicated public servant who gave her time to a variety of volunteer endeavors within the community.
“History has had leaders that happened to be the right people at the right time, and Crystal was one of those people,” said Mayor Martin.
She ran for mayor three times, and won every election. Balancing the budget, fixing the jetty, and creating the high dunes trail were some of her professional passions. The high dunes trail is set to be named in her honor. Crystal also led the Ocean Shores community through the nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Her spirit and her energy are irreplaceable. She cared deeply about this community, and she was tireless in her defense and unwavering in her advocacy on its behalf,” said Rep. Kilmer.
Kilmer presented Dean and the rest of Crystal’s family with a flag that had been flown above the U.S. Capitol Building in honor of her lifetime of service and dedication to Ocean Shores.
Family and friends shared personal anecdotes about Crystal and her life beyond the public sphere, including a love of pickling and canning and an affinity for wine made from pine resin.
“She truly enjoyed her time as mayor, and she served her community with everything she had,” said her daughter Elizabeth.