1923 - 2012
Mary Louise Tompkins passed from this life to her eternal home on Thursday,
December 27 at the age of 89. She will be greatly missed. She was born to Louise
Emily Marie Blanc and Leonce A. Chabre at St. Mary Hospital in Walla Walla, Washington
on June 21, 1923. She attended St. Patrick’s High School, graduating in 1940
and attended Walla Walla Business College.
In 1972, she graduated from Walla Walla Community College as a registered
nurse. In high school, she cooked for the family herders at their summer
sheep camps. After business college, Mary Louise worked at Tompkins
and Nibler as an accountant and at US McCaw Hospital as a clerk typist
during World War II. After receiving her RN, Mary Louise worked at St.
Mary Hospital and Walla Walla VA Hospital as a nurse.
Mary Louise married her high school sweetheart, 2nd Lt. Charles Joseph
(Joe) Tompkins on April 14, 1944 at Marfa Army Air Base, Brewster
County, Texas. One week after the wedding, he was sent to the European
Theater of War, returning two years later. They celebrated 68 years of
marriage this year. They had four children: Douglas, Rebecca, JoAnne
and Raphael. They lived near Walla Walla where they farmed for ten years,
then moved to town when Joe became an owner of Tompkins and Nibler,
a seed processing firm founded by his father, Ray Tompkins, in 1924.
In the late 1940s, she and another young farm wife, Helen Rea, formed
a bridge group of eight farm couples who enjoyed potlucks, cards and
friendship for 54 years, until the infirmities of old age and death took
She was blessed with an inquisitive nature and enjoyed classes in
drawing, painting, creative writing, Spanish and many others. As a child
she loved to gallop her horse over the Snake River plateaus and began a
lifelong love of swimming, learning in mountain streams and the Snake
River. In her forties, she earned her Water Safety Instructor certification
and became a YMCA Dolphinette, taking part in aquatic performances.
She and her husband were avid downhill skiers from the time they
helped build Spout Springs Ski Resort in their twenties until they were 72
years old. She was an accomplished seamstress and tailor, making many
of her own and her children’s clothes and sewing creative Halloween
costumes for her five beloved grandchildren. She was an active member
of Birthright, Human Life, St. Patrick’s Altar Society, Camp Fire Girls, MS
Society, Volunteer Chore Services, and Ft. Walla Walla Museum.
Because of their love of travel, Mary Louise and Joe traveled by car to
48 states and parts of Canada. They also visited Alaska and Hawaii and
eleven foreign countries. For ten years, they spent six months a year as
“snow birds” at Paradise Resort, Sun City, Arizona.
Preceding her in death are her parents, her one sibling, Albert Chabre
and his wife, Ermina, and a nephew, Leonce Chabre. Survivors are her beloved
husband, Joe, her two sons Douglas Tompkins of Pasco, Ray Tompkins
and his wife Anne of Snohomish, Washington; her two daughters
Rebecca Fulfs and her husband Le of Kennewick and JoAnne Tompkins
and her husband Jon Schorr of Seattle; grandsons Nathan Fulfs and his
wife Emily of Seattle; Joshua Fulfs of Portland, Oregon; granddaughters
Alexa Curry of Seattle and Laura and Sarah Tompkins of Snohomish;
one great grandson Kieran Fulfs of Seattle; and nephews Wayne
Chabre and wife Jeanne McMenemy, Barry Chabre and Randy Chabre
all of Walla Walla; one niece Donna Ruddell and her husband George of
A memorial Mass will be held at Assumption Catholic Church on Friday,
January 4 at 2:00 p.m. The Rosary will be recited at 7:00 pm. the night
before, January 3, at Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla
Walla, WA. Memorial donations may be made to Catholic Charities or
other charity of choice through the funeral home.
Friends and family are invited to sign the online guest book at