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We have been the fortunate witnesses to an amazing life, indeed a life well lived. It was a life abundant with family and faith, compassion and caring, humor and wit, grace, dignity, and love. On September 5, 2018, Emae Anderson passed from this wonderful life to one of even greater glory.
Emae was born Ethelmae Nygard in Wenatchee, Washington on January 28, 1930, to Eino and Cecile Nygard. She grew up in East Wenatchee, across the Columbia River, but attended Wenatchee High School. Emae would forever be teased by her future husband, Ken, that she was a “Bridge Walker,” the less than flattering name given to East Wenatchee residents attending WHS. Emae and Ken both graduated from WHS in 1948.
The Wenatchee Valley and Chelan County were always “home” to Emae. She loved the wildflowers in the hills and blossoms on the trees, the trails and ski runs of the mountains, azure blue Lake Chelan and numbingly frigid Lake Wenatchee. Part of Emae’s soul will always reside there.
After high school, Emae attended Wenatchee Valley College and then she was off to University of Minnesota, graduating from there in 1952 with a degree in Occupational Therapy. After a clinical affiliation at Duke University, Emae found work in Seattle, and it was there she became reacquainted with Ken Anderson, a young pre-med student at the University of Washington. They had not dated in high school, but since they were in the same city, they decided to get together. When Ken first saw Emae again he famously opined, “You’ve put on some weight.” Emae, unfazed, retorted, “Yes, I have.” Remarkably, they were married on March 28, 1953.
In the years of medical school and residency that followed in Seattle, two boys were born, Kenny and Tom. Eric and Mary followed after the couple moved to Enumclaw, Washington where Ken began his medical career. It was then that Emae found her true and perfect calling, mother. This title was only to be exceed by her other esteemed vocation, grandmother. She will always be known as “Mae Mae” to her beloved grandchildren.
Enumclaw soon became Emae’s second hometown. She loved attending sporting events, her weekly hiking group, the doctor’s wives luncheons, the Friday night crew, the weaving guild, and many other activities. She was also a tireless volunteer for Camp Fire, Sacred Heart Parish, and countless other events and charities. Mt. Rainier became “Mae Mae’s” Mountain, her persona, her constant companion. Emae loved Enumclaw, and Enumclaw returned that love with the support she felt from the entire community after the deaths of her husband, Ken, and son, Eric.
Faith was the essential part of Emae’s life. She did not need to tell you about her faith, she lived it, it exuded from her very being. Emae was an active member of Sacred Heart Parish in Enumclaw and St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Kona, Hawaii, where she played in the Ukulele band. Emae’s faith, and thus her entire life, was embodied in Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” We can be confident Emae has heard these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Emae is survived by her sons Kenny Anderson of Woodinville and Tom Anderson (Cynthia) of Burlington; daughter Mary Holland (Dale) of Enumclaw; daughter-in-law Margy Anderson of Kent; grandchildren: Mary Caitlin Seelbach (Will), Jake, Brenna, Ian and Maria Anderson, William, Katie, Andy and Ben Holland. She was preceded in death by her husband Dr. Ken Anderson on April 5, 2014 and her son Eric Anderson on July 7, 2018.
Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday September 15, 2018 at 11:00 a.m., Sacred Heart Parish, 1614 Farrelly Street, Enumclaw, WA 98022. Remembrances may be made to the Dr. and Mrs. Anderson Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o Columbia Bank, 501 Roosevelt Avenue, Enumclaw, WA 98022.