In memoriam: MaryAnn Thimmes

Thimmes obit

MaryAnn Thimmes

MaryAnn Thimmes, 90, of Vancouver, Washington, died on May 3, 2019. MaryAnn was a dedicated nurse who demon­strated the impor­tance of high personal and profes­sional standards, her desire to make a positive differ­ence in the lives of others, her commit­ment to volun­teerism, and the caring role of the nurse in every area of life.

Since 1959, MaryAnn served WSNA and her district, the Fort Vancouver Nurses Associ­a­tion (now South­west Region Nurses Associ­a­tion), as presi­dent, treasurer, board member, educa­tion chairman and delegate to WSNA. A highly respected nursing colleague and commu­nity leader, MaryAnn was inducted into the WSNA Hall of Fame in 1998.

MaryAnn was born on July 28, 1928 in Liberal, Kansas, to John and Esther Schmatjen. The family moved to Portland, Oregon, in 1937, where she gradu­ated from Grant High School in 1946.

She gradu­ated from Whitworth College and Deaconess Hospital Nursing School in Spokane, Washington. MaryAnn married Gilbert Thiessen on Dec. 5, 1952, and the pair moved to Portland after they both gradu­ated from Whitworth. They moved to Vancouver in 1957 and were happily married until Gilbert died in 1962. MaryAnn married her second husband, Leonard Martin Thimmes, on Sept. 2, 1966.

MaryAnn was a professor of nursing at Clark College in Vancouver from 1960 to 1993, where she also served as Director of Nursing Programs (1978 – 1987) and Division Chair. During her tenure at the college, MaryAnn facil­i­tated the link between the college and the Profes­sional Nursing Associ­a­tion by promoting member­ship in the Fort Vancouver Nurses Associ­a­tion, WSNA and the American Nurses Associ­a­tion to students, and set the standard for faculty involve­ment. Throughout her years as an educator, MaryAnn was also a student — earning her master’s degree in nursing from the Univer­sity of Washington. Upon her retire­ment from teaching in 1993, MaryAnn went on to serve as co-chair of the Nursing Alumni Association.

As a founder and Director of Nursing Services of the All-Volun­­teer Vancouver Walk-In Commu­nity Clinic, MaryAnn created an alliance with her District and the Vancouver commu­nity through her own spirit of volun­teerism and the promo­tion of service by Fruit Valley Neigh­bor­hood Associ­a­tion (FVNA) members, including finan­cial assis­tance from the organization.

A well-known leader in her commu­nity, MaryAnn’s involve­ment included serving as presi­dent of the Washington League for Nursing, vice presi­dent and treasurer of her local chapter of the Washington State Educa­tion Associ­a­tion; and committee chair, board member and past presi­dent of Sorop­ti­mist Inter­na­tional — a global volun­teer organi­za­tion that provides women and girls with access educa­tion and training to achieve economic empowerment.

MaryAnn was also an active member of Calvary Baptist Church and Cascade Park Baptist Church in Vancouver. She enjoyed traveling and visited many different countries and all 50 states.

MaryAnn is survived by her son, Terry Thimmes (Kathy); daughter, Judi Bailey (Chuck); grand­chil­dren, Geri Kaye Hennessy (Michael), Glenn Thimmes (Sarah), Jason Thimmes, Amanda DeRito (Jim), Carrie Knapp (Michael), Rozie Bracken (Adriel), Ryan Bailey (Cassandra) and Sara Williams (Rob); and 15 great-grandchildren. 

She was preceded in death by her first and second husbands, Gilbert Thiessen and Leonard Thimmes; son, Martin Thimmes; and daughter, Kristi Thiessen.