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Obituary: Wilson, Ollie Mae

WILSON, Ollie Mae Ollie Mae (Gilbert) Wilson was born in Colville, Washington on May 11, 1927 to Ralph and Lorraine (Pearsall) Gilbert. She passed away on July 19, 2014 in Spokane, Washington at the age of 87. Ollie Mae attended school in Colville, WA and in 1945 was the valedictorian of her graduating class. She was gifted musically and was very involved in musical activities in school. In the summer of 1944 she was among the first women to work on a fire lookout tower. While attending Colville High School, Ollie Mae met her future husband, Bob Wilson. They both attended Washington State University from 1945-1951, marrying in 1947. She earned Bachelor’s degrees in Home Economics and Education and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition. In 1956 the family moved to Northport, Washington where Ollie Mae was busy raising six children, managing a large house and garden, working as a bookkeeper for the lumber mill and being active in the Northport community. She served as a director and chairman of the Northport school board for a number of years, and then was elected to the Washington State Board of Education where she served three terms from 1965 to 1983. In 1967 she received the Citizen Award for Better Understanding of Education by the Washington Education Association. Ollie Mae was the mayor of Northport from 1990 to 2001, earning her the nickname ‘Ollie Mayor’. She was also very active in developing rural health care by becoming an EMT and serving on the Governing Board for N.E. Washington Health Programs for 34 years. Ollie Mae began her second career working for the United States Postal Service in Northport once her children were in school. She eventually became the postmaster, retiring from that position in 1998. In 1986 she served as President of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Postmasters of the United States. Ollie Mae lived in Northport for over 56 years until moving back to Colville in 2012 where she resided at Parkview. Her family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff and her friends at Parkview for the care and companionship she enjoyed while there. As her children, we are fortunate that Mom felt it was important to expose us to many activities and experiences. We all have treasured memories of snow skiing with her at Red Mountain; summers at Lake Thomas swimming, water skiing, fishing, playing cards and picking huckleberries; mushrooming; music lessons; gardening; cooking; reading; sewing; fishing and hunting. She imparted the importance of public service, education and lifelong learning, both formal and informal. She saw the best in her children, and was unwavering in her belief that we could excel in whatever we attempted. Over the years she also opened her home to several young people who needed a second home (Kevin, Vanessa and Clara). Ollie Mae was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Ralph. She is survived by her six children David (Loretta) Wilson of Clayton, WA; Chuck (Diane) Wilson of Northport, WA; JoAnn (Mike) Curtis of Coeur d’Alene, ID; Carol Wilson (Bob Ponti) of Zillah, WA; Janice Wilson (Jay Weidner) of Pullman, WA; and Steve Wilson of Greenacres, WA; Kevin Gilpatrick of Davis, CA; Clara Le Cou of Spokane, WA; grandchildren Keri, Levi, Luke, Natalie and Amanda; Kyle and Kate; Justin, Courtney, Taylor and Grant; Joe; Paul and Emily; and Shyanne. She is also survived by 17 great-grandchildren (with two more on the way); her former husband, Bob Wilson; and her special cousin, Helen MacGregor. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on August 30, 2014 at Northport Presbyterian Church with a gathering to follow.


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