JoAnn (Dilworth) Wetmore

JoAnn (Dilworth) Wetmore

obit5Born in Seattle on August 7, 1933 to Richard and Gertrude Dilworth, JoAnn spent her early years in Seattle, Spartanburg, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and Sacramento before settling in Seattle, graduating from Franklin High School in 1951.  She graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in dietetics, marrying Richard “Dick” Wetmore on June 18, 1955.  Dick and JoAnn started their lives together in San Diego, settling in Seattle upon Dick’s release from active duty in the Navy in June, 1957.

Daughter Debbie was born January 20, 1957, followed by the birth of daughter Cindy on April 30, 1958.  The young family lived in their Beacon Hill home from 1958 until 1967, when they moved to Bellevue to allow room for horses, not to mention dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, and goats.  This was to be Dick and JoAnn’s home for the next 46 years, serving as a welcoming hub for scout meetings, family gatherings, bike club and Mountaineer potlucks, and friends and guests from around the world.

JoAnn began her long involvement with Girl Scouts on Beacon Hill as a Brownie Scout leader.  Following the girls as they grew, she also served as a Cadet and Junior Scout leader as well as a leader trainer.  JoAnn continued her Scout leadership by managing the Totem Council Lichtenfeld chalet near Stevens Pass and running a horse camp at Camp River Ranch.  As troop leaders, JoAnn and Dick planned and led epic backpacking trips to the Enchantments and Image Lake in the Cascade Mountains, bicycle trips to Oregon and British Columbia, and a cross-state bicycle ride to the Spokane World’s Fair in 1974.

JoAnn’s travels continued when she and Dick joined a Mountaineers bicycle tour of England in 1978.  This foreign travel inspired them to seize the opportunity to live in Japan for 14 months for Dick’s work with Boeing in 1979-80.  She instantly immersed herself in all things Japanese, from cooking and tea to pottery and ikebana (flower arranging).  Upon returning from Japan, Dick’s work took them to the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and return trips to Japan and England.

IMG_1737In the states, JoAnn and Dick celebrated their 50th birthdays by riding their tandem bicycle from Bellevue to Boston in 1983, an 8-week, 3500 mile trek, raising funds for the Leukemia Society along the way.  After Dick’s retirement in 1991, they retraced Lewis and Clark’s route from St. Louis to Astoria, Oregon on their tandem.  This was followed by bike rides from Munich to Budapest and the classic “End to End” ride from the southern coast of England to the northern coast of Scotland.

As JoAnn’s health declined, they took to their RV as a mode of travel, making trips to Alaska, Washington DC, Williamsburg, Mt. Rushmore, multiple national parks, and annual visits to Peoria, Arizona for Mariners’ spring training games.  JoAnn’s Peoria highlight was catching a foul ball in 2009, a ball still adorning the mantelpiece at home. grandpas pics 002

Among her many accomplishments, JoAnn was most proud of her leadership in scouting, raising her two wonderful daughters, and providing delicious, healthy and sometimes not-so-healthy food for her family and wide circle of friends.  Possessed with a terrific smile and ready laugh, JoAnn was highly creative, sharing her crafting and artistic talents generously and lovingly.  She was also the epitome of a loving and doting grandmother to her three grandchildren, creating indelible memories for us all.

JoAnn led a full, active, and generous life, enriching the lives of all who knew her until succumbing to complications from Alzheimer’s disease on November 17, 2013.  She is survived by her husband Richard, daughters Debbie Wetmore and Cindy McCabe, sons-in-law Scott Pringle and Charles McCabe, and grandchildren Hannah, Walker and April McCabe.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Western and Central Washington State Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association  An open house celebration of JoAnn’s life will be held from 12:00 to 5:00 on December 8, 2013 at the Wetmore home in Bellevue, WA.

10 Responses to “JoAnn (Dilworth) Wetmore”

  • Diane and Norm says:

    Dear Dick and family,

    It is with great sadness we heard of JoAnns passing.
    Such a wonderful caregiver you were.
    Such a team the two of you were. Always smiling,lending a hand to help others, enjoying life, setting the example for others to follow.
    Best to you at this time and know that you are our hero.

  • Barb & Jerry Barrett says:

    To Dick and family,
    We really enjoyed riding with you and JoAnn on Boeing bike club rides. And we are sad to hear of JoAnn’s passing.
    You have our deepest sympathy.

  • Barbara Weber says:

    Dick, I was sad to hear of JoAnn’s passing, but she and you had a wonderful life together. Although I did not know her when she was her most vibrant, she always had a smile on her face and was content by your side. You were a wonderful caregiver. That is a path I have traveled, so I know it is not easy. I am amazed at your bike trips which must have given you great memories! I cannot join you on Dec 8th due to a prior commitment, but I do want you to know my thoughts will be with you. My sympathy to you and your family. Barbara

  • Laurie (Brown) Brauneis says:

    JoAnn was to me what many young people now take for granted, but was rare in my generation – an adult friend. She was there when I was having difficult times in my life; my teen years when things were crumbling at home and later when I came back to Seattle after a failed marriage. She was there, just by being herself.

    She was there as a leader, a great example of what a woman could be. She was out exploring and touring new places on her bike, up in remote places in the mountains, trudging through gorgeous valleys and hills in snow shoes. Ones she made. But the most remarkable and daring of all was that she took a bunch of teenage girls with her, one of whom was me.

    I can see her in a group of girls in her living room planning our next adventure. “You bring gorp, and you bring the beef jerky”, and dried this and that – things she taught us to make. I think it was me who she assigned to bring the secret watermelon, which we had after 2 days of backpacking in the Enchantments.

    Leafing through old photos I can see her at the end of a long table of girls, probably horse camp. There are paper plates filled with strawberry shortcake she no doubt surprised us with, smiling like a Cheshire cat.

    I remember her share of complaints too, not unreasonable after getting hurt sliding down a steep mountainside grade or falling off her bike. She never gave up or told Dick “This is my last trip” as near as I could tell. I think she had kind of a love/hate/forgiveness toward these trips. She always came back for the next round. That in my mind, made her remarkable.

    It was the love – love of us, her family, life and adventure I saw as her motivation. If I could possibly carry just one piece of her along my journey, it would be that kind of love. That and the forgiveness of life when it bites you so you can come back for more.

    JoAnn, hope to see you on the other side for the next adventure.

  • Karin Miller says:

    Beautiful obituary for a beautiful life. You were an amazing loving and caring husband.

  • Pete and Hannelore Maas says:

    We were so sorry to hear about JoAnn’s passing. Our first memories of her are with the Boeing Bike Club,
    the early years when all had small children and we took
    them on day/weekend trips all over the State.
    One fond memory is both of you bringing an ice cream maker to Cedar River and after a short ride all of us
    enjoying fresh ice cream. Our condolences to all of you.
    Pete and Hannlore Maas

  • Gerry Williams says:

    Very sad to see learn of your loss, Dick- you were so caring with her-I know you will get through this difficult time.
    I so appreciated you both including me going to the Village Theater when it was the old wooden structure across the street – when I first moved back to this area.

  • Amy MacAulay says:

    My deepest sympathies to all of JoAnn’s family.

    She was always gracious, calm and smiling, but still with plenty of spark to her personality. She and Dick have truly been an example of the best that a marriage can be.

    Years ago when I was temporarily disabled, JoAnn insisted on helping me for weeks with transportation, food, and encouragement.

  • Amy MacAulay says:

    JoAnn touched many people, she has left the world is a better place for her presence. She was always calm, gracious and smiling, but still with plenty of spark to her personality.

    Years ago she insisted on helping me through an illness with transportation, food, and encouragement. She and Dick created and enjoyed a marriage of exceptional quality.

    My deepest sympathies to all of her family.

  • Mack Van Wyk says:

    I was sorry to hear about JoAnn’s passing. I want to express my deepest sympathies to you and to all of your family. It was always a pleasure when you and JoAnn accompanied the Boeing bike club on their rides.

    I know what a tremendous loss it is to loose your spouse. You and JoAnn are both in my prayers. God bless. – – Mack Van Wyk

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