Anna Grace Merrill was born June 8, 1923 in College Place, WA to Theodore and Grace (Lynam) Weir and passed away at her Beaverton, OR home on February 27, 2014 at the age of 90. "WE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AS WE WERE BEFORE THIS LOSS, BUT ARE EVER SO MUCH BETTER FOR HAVING HAD SOMETHING SO GREAT TO LOSE." Ann was educated at Yakima Valley Academy, attended college in Walla Walla, WA, and had her nurses training at Portland Sanitarium and Hospital. She worked as a Registered Nurse for many years for Portland Sanitarium in the Obstetrics Dept., Providence Hospital in Surgery and Dammasch State Hospital as the head of a ward. ...
Anna Grace Merrill was born June 8, 1923 in College Place, WA to Theodore and Grace (Lynam) Weir and passed away at her Beaverton, OR home on February 27, 2014 at the age of 90.
"WE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AS WE WERE BEFORE THIS LOSS, BUT ARE EVER SO MUCH BETTER FOR HAVING HAD SOMETHING SO GREAT TO LOSE."
Ann was educated at Yakima Valley Academy, attended college in Walla Walla, WA, and had her nurses training at Portland Sanitarium and Hospital. She worked as a Registered Nurse for many years for Portland Sanitarium in the Obstetrics Dept., Providence Hospital in Surgery and Dammasch State Hospital as the head of a ward.
Surgery was her favorite place to work, as she felt "we are always right in there, doing all we can to save or improve someone's life." She was on the surgical team at Providence Hospital that did some of the first hip and knee replacements, and on the team that did the first open heart surgery at Providence. She traveled to a remote area of Ecuador as a volunteer nurse in the mid-70's and served as an officer for the Oregon Nurses Assn.
She married Francis Oliver Teeter in 1946, and they were together until 1970. In 1977 she married M. Jay Merrill, after he was smitten when experiencing her pie-making ability.
As a mother, she taught her children and grandchildren to be loving, thoughtful and polite. Every birthday was celebrated with a family dinner, always complete with cake, ice cream and candles, accompanied by everyone singing Happy Birthday. Any gift received for any occasion required a written thank-you be sent.
For as long as Ann could remember, her birthday was always celebrated with wild strawberries, even though sometimes only a small handful could be found around the home ranch. Knowing that, her family nearly always had strawberries for her June birthday celebration.
She encouraged and supported her children in pursuing their talents......Daughter Cherryl in learning to play the accordion, Mom Ann packing the heavy instrument to and from lessons and up long flights of stairs for appearances, sometimes several times a week. She was a Little League Mom for her son Rick,working in the snack shack and scoring booth during the season. She was also a Girl Scout leader, taking the girls on camping trips and helping to sell boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. All of these activities were beautifully managed while working full-time at her nursing job.
Family vacations were always a special event. Many summers included a car trip to California to visit her sister in Sacramento, with a trip on to Disneyland when it first opened. On one such trip, Walt Disney was observed, cutting the ribbon on the newest attraction. Another memorable family trip was to the Seattle Worlds Fair and camping in the San Juan Islands with several ferry trips. Several summers included a camping trip to the sand dunes near Florence, Oregon.
Ann thoroughly enjoyed the years that she and Jay lived in Scappoose. They raised Christmas trees, had a large fruit orchard, berries, a vegetable garden and beautiful flowers, roses and shrubs. For several years they raised sheep and more than once Ann used her nursing skills to help deliver the lambs. She dearly loved having her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids visit. She helped them pick apples, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, plums, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, kohlrabi and any other crops they were growing, as well as sending them home with bouquets of fresh flowers. She delighted in dying and hiding Easter eggs out in their large yard so that her grandkids could "go see what the Easter Bunny has left for you!"
Ann was an accomplished seamstress, making clothes for herself, her daughter and her granddaughters. In 1959 she made a pioneer dress and bonnet for daughter Cherryl to wear for the Oregon Centennial Celebration. The dress was later worn by several other little girls, most recently in 2012, and remains a family treasure.
Ann traveled to many of the 50 states and Canada, but she and Jay especially loved their trips to Alaska in their travel trailer and motorhome. They also enjoyed traveling to Hawaii, Branson, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier National Park, Lake Chelan, Ocean Shores, Eaglecrest, the Canadian Rockies and many visits to the family vacation home on Devils Lake in Lincoln City. They enjoyed both ocean and river cruises in Alaska, Hawaii and the Columbia and Snake River.
Ann took up painting in 1985 at age 63 after seeing a class on OPB television. In 1986 she entered her work in the Scappoose Art Club show and her "Mt. Rainer at Sunset" was awarded First Place in the Advanced Amateur Division.
After retirement, Ann continued to meet monthly with her long-time nursing co-workers. She also belonged to a group that donated 100's of knitted children's hats and sweaters to Providence Hospital. She gave handmade quilts to many of those in her family and to charitable organizations.
After a lifetime of good health, Ann spent her last years courageously battling Alzheimer's Disease, doing her very best to adjust to losing the ability to do everything she enjoyed. In her last weeks, she was well cared for by Edgewood Arbor and Signature Hospice.
A memorial service will be held on June 8, 2014, at Beaverton Lodge, which would have been her 92nd birthday. Strawberry Shortcake will be served, just as it was on most of her birthdays.
Donations may be made to the
. or a charity of choice.
Ann was preceded in death by a brother, Wilbert Weir, and a sister, Esther Ruth Weir DeVine.
She will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by:
her husband of 36 years, Mareth Jay Merrill;
brothers John Samuel Weir, Paul David Weir, and Harold Clifford Weir;
her children Cherryl Ann Teeter Byer Chandler and husband Stephen, and Richard Keith Teeter and wife Nancy;
grandchildren Shareen Gayle Byer Patton Winkels and husband John, Kristin Kaye Byer Betschart and husband Ken, and Scott William Byer and wife Jackie;
great-grandchildren Malorie Kristine Patton, Alyssa Ann Betschart, Austin Peter Betschart, and Miranda Rose Byer;
step-son Tim Merrill and wife Carra;
step-grandchildren Bryan Merrill and Lauren Merrill.
The following was written by Anna in her own hand:
This is my life story…I was born to Theodore Wilbert and Grace Helena Lynam Weir on June 8, 1923 at my grandmother's home in College Place, Washington. My brother Wilbert and sister Esther no doubt were somewhere around but my father and Aunt Mabel were assisting the doctor (they were both nurses). My mother had a difficult delivery and no doubt I wasn't having my best time either. Maybe just as well I can't remember that far back. We stayed at my grandmother's home until mother was able to travel. Then we all returned to our home "on the Range". It was located about fifteen miles southeast of Colville, Washington. We always referred to it as "The Ranch".
My first recollection was when I was about three years old. My parents were taking the family for a visit to some close neighbors (about one-half mile away) and to get to their home we had to cross a large creek. There was only a large log to serve as a bridge. My father carried me and I can recall looking down at the swirling water and feeling frightened.
When I was four and one half, Mother and I returned to Cottage Place. Mother was admitted to Walla Walla Sanitarium and Hospital where my brother John was born. I stayed with my Aunt Mabel who had an upstairs room in the same building. She worked in surgery and while she was busy, I was no doubt a pest to the housekeeping and kitchen staff. After all the surgeries for the day were completed (Aunt Mabel still had work to do in that area), she would come and get me and all I can remember was that she had me "help" her make applicators (most of you would know them as Q-Tips – only these were on a stick about six inches long). I've often wondered since if any of those applicators that I wound the cotton on were usable. Note: What was then a hospital was later part of the campus of Walla Walla College. That hospital building became a dorm. In 1942 I stayed in that dorm and I often wondered just which room my Aunt Mabel had lived in and if it could have been the same one that I roomed in. I vaguely remembered the stairs. When I was four, they were a lot of fun to run up and down. It was also at that time that I decided I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up. I entered the pre-nursing class on that same campus the fall of 1940.
My father, Wilbert, and Esther had stayed on the ranch to take care of the livestock, etc. It was said that when he got a letter saying that he had a son, he danced around with happiness. After two daughters, one more just then would have been a little much. Mother, John, and I returned as soon as she was released from the doctor's care. Usually at that time mothers were kept down in bed for about ten days. That was the closest thing to a vacation most women ever got.
Back at the ranch, things returned to normal. I now had a baby to play with and help care for. I can remember mother having me stand on an apple box and stir up a cake. She must have gotten all the ingredients together and was just having me stir it. I don't remember having had any of that cake either. It probably wasn't fit to eat.
Our home had no electricity, no running water, nor any indoor plumbing. We used kerosene lamps in the house and kerosene lanterns in the barn. Our water we carried (a bucket at a time) from one of two creeks that were on the property. It was all uphill from either creek. For our toilet we used an outhouse that was built about fifty feet from the house in a thicket of wild roses, willows, and other native vegetation. For our baths we used a round wash tub and for washing hands and face we used a wash basin that was on an apple box near the back door. This was a handy place for any one coming from milking cows or working in the garden or fields to clean up and just open the door and throw out the wash water. The "bath tub" of course just sat on the floor and it would take two people to carry it out to dump.
On January 6, 1930 my brother Paul was born at home. My father served as the "mid-wife". I can remember sitting and playing on a big log out in the yard with John during the time Paul was being born. Esther and Wilbert were in school. When Paul was still very young, my parents left me at home with him when they went to town. They took John with them, and I was alone with the baby. I was carrying him to change his diaper when he squirmed out of my arms and his head hit the claw foot of the heating stove. He wouldn't stop crying and I held and rocked him until my parents came home. They took him into town to the doctor and were told he had a mild concussion. I was very sad. When Paul was about two he had another accident. Some radishes had been cleaned and put in a glass jar. They were put on a step in the back room to keep cool. Paul loved radishes and crawled up to reach them, put his hand into the jar and when trying to pull his hand out, he pulled jar and all up then lost his balance and fell down the two or three steps. The jar broke and a piece of glass cut him quite deeply under his left (?) yes. Again he got a trip to the doctor and some stitches were needed to close the wound. When I saw all the blood coming from my baby brother, I screamed and cried. Mother very sternly told me that if I wanted to become a nurse, I would need to not be upset at the sight of blood. I don't think I ever again was all that upset about seeing blood.
On March 20, 1932, my brother Harold was born at home. I suppose John and Paul were sent out to "sit on the log until we tell you to come in". So now I had another baby to help care for. I never needed a doll as there was plenty of play and care of the three little boys.
In the fall of 1932, our parents moved us into our house in Colville so we could attend "church school". Then moved us back to the ranch for the summer in the spring of 1933. My father was having health problems. One of them was large boils on his neck and body. Then he developed jaundice some time later that year. Mother had told me that she had his bag packed three different times for him to go to College Place to get some care. I don't know why he didn't go to a doctor in Colville. Maybe he had and had not gotten any better. Anyway we moved back into town for the school year and back to the ranch in the spring. By that time our father was very yellow and very sick. He left for college Place on June 6, 1934 – just two days before my eleventh birthday. I wept "buckets" of tears. Something told me I would never see him alive again. That came true. On June 20, our neighbor, Mary Chester (they were the only people in the "Bear Creek" area who had a phone) walked to our house with a telegram. It said "Surgery on 17th, Died today." Mrs. Chester wasn't even aware he had left. Our father had cirrhosis of the liver and as far as I know, he never had any alcoholic beverage. He probably had an acute hepatitis and didn't get the proper diet and rest. He didn't want to leave the ranch even when he did. One of our work horses was due to have a colt soon, and he was afraid she might need some attention.
We all went to the funeral that was held in Walla Walla, Wn. The three younger boys were too young to understand just what had happened. Mother and I cried a lot but Wilbert and Esther didn't as I remember. My father was a strict man, and no doubt Wilbert and Esther were beginning to revolt some. I hadn't reached that point yet. I did all I could to please Father, and we were "buddies". Esther told me several years ago that she thought Father had spoiled me and that she and Mother were going to "unspoil" me. So that "treatment" was added to my grief. Well I survived! But I wish I had never found out about their "plan".
These following stories are random memories of my life. Written on 9/21/94.
This story was about our travels in the summer of 1929. I had turned 6 in June. Esther was 9, Wilbert was 11 and John was 1-1/2; and Mother was expecting her fifth child the following spring. She never told any of her sisters or her parents that she was pregnant.
My first train ride that I can remember was to California to see my Grandpa and Grandma Lynam. They lived on the bank of the Santa Cruz River in a house adjacent to an apartment house that they owned. There was a dock, reached by quite a few stairs, as the river was 6 feet or more below the top of the river band. I saw nasturtiums for the first time there. The rather steep edge of the bank was covered with them and to this day – whenever I see nasturtium I think of Grandma and Grandpa and their dock.
Grandpa got sea-sick even in a row boat, so Grandma would take us out for a ride in their row boat. We thought that to be a great treat.
It was walking distance to the beach. One day we had gone down to play in the sand and wade in the surf. I left my NEW shoes where I had taken them off and when I returned to that spot, they were gone. Whether I misjudged where I had left them, or someone had taken them I never knew. Esther, Wilbert, and probably our mother all looked for quite some time for those shoes, but to no avail. I was heart broken. My Grandpa had owned a shoe store, and when he sold out, he kept a lot of children shoes (that's where I had gotten my new shoes), so I suppose he went to his supply and gave me another pair. I don't think I went barefoot the rest of the trip.
We also visited Aunt Florence in Glendale. She had a nice house with a big hedge in front. I have a picture taken in front of that house that I will try to include in the album when I get this printed. It must have been quite an experience for Aunt Florence and Uncle Albert to have four children in their home as they had no children of their own. They took us for rides around the area and Aunt Florence has told me that I would be sitting in the front seat between her and Uncle Albert and would fall asleep. Then whenever the car would stop at a stop sign, it would wake me up and I would say, "I'm having such a good time" and then I'd go right back to sleep, only to repeat the same thing at the next stop. We did have a good time.
We also visited my father's older brother, Uncle John. He was a doctor associated with Loma Linda Sanitarium. He was an ear, eye, nose and throat specialist and he had offered to take our tonsils out while we were visiting them (if they needed to be removed). I was the only one that had enlarged tonsils, so mother decided to wait until we got back home to have that done. Well, I finally had them removed when I was 14. I never had a winter that I didn't have constant earaches, colds and sore throats. I was away from home for the first time – attending Yakima Valley Academy at Granger, Wn. as a Sophomore and the School nurse insisted I have my tonsils out as soon as possible as I again had constant ear aches and lost my hearing for a couple of weeks. I went to my Aunt Mabel's who lived in College Place, Wn. and had them taken out under local anaesthetic. My, what a relief not to have earaches any more!
But back to Uncle John and Aunt Maude's. They lived in an orange grove and there were oranges everywhere. We would go out in the yard and find ripe ones that had just fallen on the ground and we at our fill – "what a treat!" At home, the only time we would have an orange was at Christmas time. Then it would be one in our Christmas stocking the local merchants gave out to all the kids in town at a Christmas program at one of the big churches in Colville. Aunt Maude wanted to give us a real treat so she bought a big bag of apples and made some apple sauce for us. I for one turned my nose up at it and went out and got another orange. Applesauce was our main fruit at home, but to have oranges – that was the real treat for us. I hope we didn't hurt Aunt Maude's feeling too much.
We also visited our Aunt Annie. I think she lived in Capitola. Her only daughter – Cousin Annie – (who will be 98 this year, 1994) was no longer at home, so we didn't have cousins to play with there. Aunt Annie took us to Pismo Beach to play.
Aunt Lizzie lived in Redlands and several of our cousins still lived at home. I remember Crystal and Elbeth. I think the boys were already out on their own. Crystal and Elbeth took us for a walk up to "Smiley Heights Park". What I remember most about that walk was getting caught in a rain storm and the smell of the rain on the dry leaves and grass. That smell is the same as it is here when it rains on warm dry grass and leaves. Then I think of our visit and that park.
All good things must come to an end and we took the long train trip home. Both going and coming home, we had several hours wait at Wallula, Wn. which was a major railroad switch yard for trains going east to west or north to south. I can remember how tired we all got just waiting for our train to come. I was anxious to get home as I was going to start school – or so I thought. On our way home in the back of father's truck, Esther informed me that I wasn't going to school after all that year. I was heart broken. I was six and didn't kids go to first grade when they turned six? I was small for my age, and I'm sure my parents had my best interest at heart. We had to walk nearly a mile to school in all kinds of weather, snow from November to May, and with my constant earaches and colds, it was just as well I waited. But at the time, it didn't make sense to me. In January, I had a new brother to play with and help take care of. Paul was born January 20, 1930. Of course John was there, too, so I was far from being alone.
Also, that winter, mother "home schooled" me. It wasn't called that then, but she taught me my ABC's and I learned to print my name, etc. There were about five or six first graders at our little one room school house and as it turned out, they were kept in the first grade the following year so I was with my class after all.
On day in late spring I was allowed to visit school. I had a lunch bucket and was to eat my lunch and then walk home. I went home by way of the Christianson house. They had a daughter, Mita, and I stopped and played with her for a little while. As I was starting home, Mother came with Paul in the baby carriage, to meet me, as I didn't get home as soon as she expected. She said she needed me at home to take care of the two younger brothers so she could do the washing. She also told me that I would get a spanking. Well, my father was told about my delay and Wilbert and Esther also heard about it. I don't know why I didn't get my spanking that day, and it was about a week before I did get it. Esther reminded my parents every day that I still had it coming, and that wasn't a very good week for me. Esther wasn't my favorite sibling right then!
Our school was called the Bear Creek School. It had a small cloak room just inside the only door to the school. There we left our coats, boots, and lunch boxes. Also in that room was a bucket of water for drinking with a ladle kept in it. Every one drank from the ladle. No wonder every one always had colds. I don't know who brought the water. There was a little creek just below the school yard and some of the older boys may have gotten it from there. There was no plumbing at the school. We had our door privies – one for the boys and one for the girls. All eight grades were taught providing there were any pupils for each grade. We each were assigned a desk. Small ones for the first graders and larger for the older students. Some of the older boys were really too big even for the largest desk.
The following entries were written in October 1989 by Ann, in a book she was given to record her memories.
MY EARLIEST MEMORY IS: Being carried over a one-log bridge over Bear Creek. We were visiting neighbors who were also homesteading - about a mile and a half from our ranch.
I REMEMBER MY FATHER AS: Strict but loving. Very hard working, a Christian whose favorite song was "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." He always hummed or sang while working.
I REMEMBER MY MOTHER AS: A loving mother of 6. Education for her children was of utmost importance to her.
OTHER PEOPLE WERE IMPORTANT TO ME TOO. I ESPECIALLY RECALL: My many aunts and uncles whom we saw very infrequently - some were Aunt Annie, Aunt Lizzie, Aunt Florence - all lived in California. My Grandpa & Grandma Lynam I remember seeing only once - when I was 6 yrs. old. Grandma Weir - we saw more often. (She always knit us woolen stockings.)
THE HOME I GREW UP IN WAS: Our ranch, northeast om Colville, WA. It was a log house that my father built just before I was born. No electricity, no running water, wood stoves for cooking and heat. Coal oil or kerosine for lamps and lanterns. We grew all our food except flour,shortening, salt and sugar and spices. We carried our water up hill from creeks - both east and west of the house. To this day, we love the ranch and visit it when we can.
MY FAVORITE TOYS WERE: Dolls. My Grandma Lynam sent me and Esther twin dolls - one blue eyed, one brown eyed - for Christmas when I was about 7 years old. We had been told to not expect any gifts that year as times were very hard. We didn't know till Christmas morning that a package had arrived from Grandpa & Grandma, so those dolls were very precious and special to Esther and me.
MY FAVORITE PETS WERE: Our farm cats and Max, our white dog.
WHEN I GREW UP, I WANTED TO BE: A nurse.
ON MY FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, I: went to Bear Creek Grand School. My teacher was Cora Sayler. It was Sept. 1930 and I was 7 yrs. old. I was not allowed to go the year I was 6 as Mother was expecting a baby and felt she needed help at home. Also, it was a 3/4 mile walk and in winter, through snow drifts and my parents felt I was too small for that. Mother taught me my ABC's and I took grade 1 & 2 my first year in school.
THE BEST PART OF SCHOOL WAS: Playing with kids my own age, LEARNING TO READ, FINALLY getting to go to school. I didn't know until just before school started the year I was six that I wouldn't be going to school and I wept for hours. I was so disappointed when I was told by my sister that I wasn't going. We were coming home from the train in Colville and riding in the bed of our truck.