Wilma (Thornton) Pitcher French was born Aug. 9, 1926, in McCleary, Washington, to the union of Julian (Kelly) Thornton and Grace (Nelson) Thornton. She attended Elma High School, graduating in 1942 at the age of 16 as the class valedictorian. Mom was a “Smart Cookie” while in school.
Mom married Paul Earl Pitcher and later went to work for the Attorney Office of Pebbles & Swanson (later) also Linskog. She worked hard Monday-Saturday, and always looked the picture of elegance.
Mom later married Elton French. After some years in Washington, they moved to Alaska and her life changed tremendously. She interviewed at a law firm named Burr Pease & Kurtz. After the first interview, she told me she had a second interview with the firm. The attorney talked to her about hunting and fishing and also about the job. After the interview, the attorney indicated that he liked Mom’s qualifications. I guess he already knew what a jewel he was getting with all of her previous experience.
While in Alaska, to better herself more she finally went to college in her 50s. After getting her degree she became a paralegal.
After her divorce from her second husband, Wilma met a good friend, Dick. They spent many years hunting and fishing. They also took up square dancing, which she loved.
Mom finally retired from the law firm at the age of 90. The law firm gave her a huge parry at the Country Club in Alaska. I was finally able to convince her to move back to be with her family. She loved to go out and eat, and her favorite place was O’Blarney’s to have Eggs Benedict.
Mom also loved going to the casino with her sister Sharon to play Keno. She was an avid Mariners and Seahawks fan.
Mom did lots of cruising over her lifetime. Her last cruise was to Cuba, at the ripe old age of 92.
Wilma French is survived by son Gary Pitcher (Janet); a daughter Paula Malloy-Hayward Bates Sheegog (Hank); and step-son Richard French. She was predeceased by daughter Charlene Pitcher Keller. Also, survived by grandchildren Brian Pitcher (Karie), Steven Pitcher, Jeffrey Malloy (Serenity), Christopher Malloy (Sarah), Matthew Hayward (Lindsey), Jessica Louise Bates, and Donovan Keller (Laura); great-grandchildren Ryleigh and Nickolas Pitcher, Morgan, Sidney and Cooper Malloy, Chad, Mallory, Malloy, Ryan Case, Lilly Clark-Haward, Gavin, Reece Hayward, Brittanie, Austen and Jordan Pitcher; and great-great-granddaughter Luna Olsen.
Survived by sister Sharon (Thornton) Black, and brother-in-law Ed Cole, Chuck Cochran (Bev) and Gary Hogan (Noreen), Wayne Pitcher (Fayne) and Jim Cochran (Bev). Predeceased by sisters Iris Engledon and Patricia Thornton Cole; nieces Traci (Black) Orr, Becky Engledon, Cheryl (Cole) McGee, and nephews Scott Black, Glen and Steve Cole.
There will be a celebration of life at her grandson’s restaurant (O’Blarney’s) in Centralia, Washington, on Sunday, May 19, at 12:00 Noon.
Mom wanted to be cremated and my brother and I will be taking her on one more cruise in September, and spreading her ashes in the ocean.
Mom will be sorely missed. To share memories, please visit: www.funeralalternatives.org.