Mary Ternes


Mary Ternes
April 26, 1920 - April 29, 2011

After a fulfilled, happy, 91 years of life, Mary Vollmer Ternes, passed away on April 29, 2011, in Walla Walla. Mary was born on April 26, 1920, in Burlington, Iowa, to Lucy and Harry Vollmer. Her childhood memories were of playing in the Mississippi River with her little sister Jane, taking a ride in a bi-wing flying machine at the new airfield across the street from her home, walking miles and miles to school in knee deep snow and winning Uncle Henry's banana eating contest that left her with a life-long aversion to anything with a banana flavor.

In the years after graduating from Burlington Junior College in 1940, Mary loved traveling across the Midwest and Plains states as a secretary with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, working on airfield and dam construction projects. In 1946 she met her husband Pete, also a Corps employee, in Bismarck, N.D.
Mary and Pete married in 1947, and moved to Yakima, where their first son, Jim, was born. Jane came two years later in Walla Walla and Tom was born five years later in Omaha, Neb. Mary spent these years, raising her family, sewing their clothes, clipping coupons, tending the family garden, canning and freezing fruits and vegetables, shuffling her kids to band practices, Girl Scout camps and swim team meets; all while moving her family to Walla Walla for a second time, then to Kailua, Hawaii, followed by her third move back to Walla Walla.

In 1975 Mary and Pete retired to Mesa, Ariz. Mary said these were her most fun years: enjoying life with Pete, walking, biking and swimming in the Arizona sunshine, dancing to swing bands, sewing, quilting, knitting, silver-smithing, traveling throughout the southwest, sending coupons to her kids, entertaining and trying out new recipes on her friends. Mary and Pete escaped the desert heat as "sunbirds" spending most summers trailering in Oceanside, Calif. Here they enjoyed the beach, exploring southern California and socializing with their fellow wandering sunbird friends.

Mary and Pete moved back to Walla Walla for the fourth time in 1997 to live closer to their children. After Pete preceded her in death in 2002. Mary lived alone, sewing, cooking, reading, struggling with crossword puzzles, still clipping coupons and always complaining about not having enough time to get everything done.

Mary's kids, Jim and Janet, Jane and Ray and Tom will memorialize Mary's life as a wonderful Mom, along with husband Pete's life as a great Dad, in a private tree planting service in the yards of each of her children.

They would like to thank the staff at Park Manor Nursing Home for the kindness and care they showed their Mom during her last few months.

Mary's family asks that you honor her life by performing an act of kindness.


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