Rick E. Graf
Gerald Norman Smith
August 1, 1934 - April 17, 2011
Gerry was born to Loretta G. Smith and Donald G. Smith in Rocky Ford Colorado. He was later placed in Sacred Heart Orphanage in Pueblo, CO. After graduation from Mullen High in Denver, he spent four years in the US Air Force. He was superintendent of schools in Kettle Falls, Coeur D’Alene and McCleary.
He moved to Port Townsend in 1984 and to Sequim in 2002. He enjoyed fishing, growing fuchsias, trips in his motor home with his pets, and watching the pair of eagles that nested in back of his home.
Gerry was first married to Jo Ann Sheers and had a son, Gregory and daughters Sara and Karla.
While on vacation he suddenly became ill and passed away at the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake. His wife, Margaret Preston and daughter, Tracey, were with him.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Loretta Gregory of
Port Townsend, and infant daughter Sara.
He is survived by his wife Margaret, son Gregory of Boise, ID,
daughter Karla Smith-Jones of Seattle, and stepdaughters Sarah
Franklin of Denver, Tracey Heller of Fence Lake, NM, and Lisa Preston of Sequim.
Memorial Mass will be at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sequim at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 24. There will also be a reception Friday,
June 24 at 12:30 p.m. at Gerry’s home, 698 Oak View Place, Sequim.
Marinette B. Chymiy
April 7, 1923-June 6, 2011
Marinette Besnault Chymiy was born into a family of 11 children in a town southeast of Tours, France, in the Loire River countryside. She lived through the occupation of France by Germany in World War II and met her first husband in Nice, France, who was a captain in the US military. They arrived in the United States in 1945, living in Louisville, KY where her only child, son Patrick, was born in 1946. She married her second husband, Andrew Chymiy in 1978 after being previously divorced for some ten years. In 1979 she and her husband retired and moved from New Jersey to Fresno, CA to be with her new step-daughter, Patricia and her husband, James Zettas. Marinette stayed in Fresno for 6 more years after the death of her husband Andrew in 1985. She gave Florida a trial living experience but soon after chose a permanent move to Sequim following her acquired family (Zettas) who had moved there in 1991. She was very happy living here. For years she was an avid walker throughout her Sequim neighborhood. She loved to do light yard and home maintenance work about the home.
It is a coincidence that she died on the 67th anniversary of the day that American forces stormed the French coast in 1944. She was 21 years old living in Paris when that event took place. After arriving in the United States learning English and becoming a citizen were important to her. She also worked as a manicurist for 20 plus years, making many friends and loyal customers.
Marinette will always be remembered for her interest in conversation, a vibrant personality in gatherings and her representation as a ‘French Coquette’, never completely losing her French accent.
Helen Simon Gamroth
July 17, 1905 • May 28, 2011
Helen Marie passed peacefully of age-
related causes six weeks short of her 106th birthday. She was a remarkable woman with a strong spirit and quiet determination as she experienced and witnessed more than a century of personal, community, national and world events.
She came of age in a time when personal social interaction and hand written letters were two skills necessary and valued. To her end days, she was writing to friends and family and inquiring after the health and well being of everyone with whom she interacted. Her gift was the ability to make each person feel appreciated and cared about.These skills were the foundation of many life-long friendships.
Helen lived the first 90 years of her life in Wisconsin, nine in Illinois with a daughter,
the last 7 here in Sequim in the home of her son and lastly at Sequim Health and Rehabilitation.
From early childhood she was a voracious reader. She developed an exceptional command of the English language, including composition, spelling, grammar and dictionary-perfect meanings of even the most obscure words. Due to her love and knowledge of the English language and the fact that there were very few career opportunities for women coming of age during the early 1900s, it was only natural that she should enter the teaching profession.
During the mid-1920s to mid-1930s she taught school in Cudahy where a large percentage of the students were first generation children of German, Polish and Eastern European parents. English was rarely spoken at home and American cultural and social norms unfamiliar. With patience, determination and kindness, she helped these young people acclimate and thrive during their most formative years.
The love of her life was A.J. Gamroth and together they raised three children in Watertown, Wisconsin. They made their home in a traditional two-story brick home on a tree-shaded street. She and her family could walk to church, schools, the homes of friends, shopping, the library, the hospital, the Rock River, several parks, and A.J.’s accounting office. This probably explains the reason why her driving skills could have been improved.
Helen’s almost photographic mind and memory were inordinately clear and sharp to the end. She could recount events in detail from early childhood onward including the specific outfits she was wearing, what food was served, which trolley line they might have ridden, etc.
She and A.J. raised their family in the Catholic faith and were faithful and giving members of St. Bernard’s in Watertown for 60 years. Once they won a new car in a raffle and donated it to St. Bernard’s. Her community service included serving on the Board of the Watertown Library, volunteering at the Watertown Hospital for many years, and participating in the Lady Elks Auxiliary, among others.
After their children had left the nest, she and A.J. hosted students and visiting professionals from abroad and typically, kept up correspondence for many years after.
Her guilty pleasure was ‘henning around’ in thrift stores, having a ‘girl’s night out’ each week with a special friend who also enjoyed
the hunt. She was a fashion plate, always paying special attention to her appearance from head to toe.
She was a swell artist, leaving many drawings and watercolors for others to enjoy and employed that talent as a makeup artist for a small theater group in Watertown. Helen was a fine piano player and in concert with A.J., who played the musical saw, would appear at local Watertown functions, playing and bantering jokes together a la George Burns and Gracie Allen. She was an avid word gamer up to the last week of her life. She enjoyed Scrabble, Upwords, working the
New York Times and other crossword puzzles.
Helen leaves three children, six grandchildren and their spouses, and seven great-grandchildren. While she outlived countless of her friends and family, she was continually making new friends, as personal interaction was her primary source of joy and interest in life. To those remaining, she left these final words whispered to her granddaughter the day before she passed, “Remember me as I was.”
The family wishes to thank especially her dedicated, patient, loving and emotionally involved friends & caregivers at Sequim Health & Rehab who helped Helen up to and through her transition to the House of
Her Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.