Ilene Tuttle Adams

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010

Former Peninsula resident Ilene Tuttle Adams died Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010 at Panorama Convalescent Center in Lacey, Washington. She was 99.

A celebration of her life was held on Monday, August 16 at Mills and Mills Funeral Home Chapel in Olympia, Wash. A reception followed.

Daughter of a Washington pioneer family, Ilene was born born November 23, 1910 in Asotin, Wash., an only child to George and Daisy (Sauer) Tuttle. She lived her early childhood in Anatone, Wash., where her family homesteaded and farmed. In 1920 the family moved to Richland, Wash., where Ilene completed high school then attended Eastern Washington Normal School (now Eastern Washington University) where she graduated at the age of 18 and began teaching that fall. She later returned to Eastern Washington University and received her bachelor's degree.

A gifted teacher, Ilene began her teaching career in Richland. She went to Alaska to teach in 1931. Ilene taught for many years in the states of Washington and Alaska, primarily in Ninilchik, Alaska and Anatone, Wash. She also taught in Tenakee Springs, Chatanika, Ouzinki, and Woody Island, Alaska. In some cases, her students spoke very little English and Ilene spoke very little Russian. She retired from teaching in Alaska in 1975. Numerous former students maintained contact with her throughout her life. In addition to teaching, Ilene coached basketball, operated a family wheat and cattle ranch near Anatone, fished commercially, was a welder in the shipyards during War II and later taught welding, and homesteaded in Ninilchik in 1959.

Ilene enjoyed children and young people, travel, dancing, gardening and playing pinochle. As a former basketball player and coach, she loved to watch games, and was particularly supportive of the teams from Ninilchik and Eastern Oregon University. Most of all, she enjoyed being with and cooking for family and friends.

"Ilene lived a long, vibrant, and eventful life. She was adventurous and willing to take risks. Ilene was determined and worked hard at anything life brought her. Her zest for life and compassionate spirit made her a role model for several generations of students, family and friends," her family writes.

Ilene was predeceased by husbands Van Puette, Lawrence Matson, Bernard Boettcher, and David J. Adams.

She is survived by daughter Margaret Vonheeder and husband Ellis of Olympia, son Larry Matson and wife Cheryl of Ninilchik, grandchildren Stacy Cruz, Shannon McElwee and husband Sjan, John Matson, Amanda Matson, and great-granddaughters Jessica McElwee and Marissa Cruz. Also surviving are stepsons David M. Adams, William Boettcher and family, and Richard Boettcher, as well as many friends from around the globe.

Memorial donations may be made to "Habitat for Humanity" or a charity of your choice in lieu of flowers.

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