A memorial service is planned tomorrow for 86-year-old Chris Holm, one of West Seattle’s real-life “Rosie the Riveters.” (We featured her in Christopher Boffoli‘s report on one of the local “Rosie” gatherings in 2009.) Her family wrote this obituary:
Clarissa Elizabeth Holm (Sherbon)
September 23, 1924 – July 31, 2011
Chris Holm passed away unexpectedly while leading the social-hour discussion at her West Seattle Church on Sunday, July 31, 2011. Chris was a vibrant woman, still living life to its fullest and enjoying her many day-to-day activities with zest and utter enthusiasm. She was a beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife, sister and friend. Everyone was surprised by her death and feel deeply saddened to lose the cornerstone, centerpiece, rock and foundation for our family and her community of friends.
Chris was born in Sioux Falls, SD, moving immediately to Walnut Grove, MN. She lived the quintessential “Little House on the Prairie” life, growing up in the famous Olsen store, working hard on the farm, and spending any free time playing on the banks of Plum Creek. She moved to Seattle and in her early twenties during WWII and worked hard at Boeing as one of the famous Rosie the Riveters.
She met Duke Holm during her commute to work, and they quickly realized they shared a passion for saving money, working hard, dancing, and the great outdoors. They married and set up a wonderful life and legacy with clear priorities based on generosity, productivity, frugality and family.
Throughout her entire life, Chris was always in motion. She brought boundless energy to her every pursuit. Early in life, she loved dancing with her husband and life partner, Duke, often spending evenings mastering the Polka or Jitterbug at the Armory, Runeberg International or just in the living room to Lawrence Welk. Chris loved working in her garden and proudly tended to the largest urban garden in all of West Seattle, perhaps beyond. She was the organist at her church for more than 60 years; was an active member and volunteer in the West Seattle Democratic Women’s organization; and regularly attended TOPS meetings. She wore the dirt on her sleeve as a badge of honor to show her productivity for the day.
Always available and generous with her time – she raised her kids, played an active role in raising their kids, and often helped take care of neighborhood kids. Chris had a famous laugh, quick wit and her smile sparkled. Perhaps most of all, she was a dependable and loyal family woman, and will always be remembered as Grandma Chris.
Chris was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Duke Holm; her brothers: Royal, Levi, and Robert Sherbon; her sister, Ruth Carte; and her special friend of seven years, John Evans. Chris is survived by her sister, Alice Dobson; sons: Terry and Justus (Jan Hosler); and daughter, Vickie Mercer (Gary); her grandchildren: Danielle Clark (Greg), Naomi Mercer, Larry Holm, Laurie Johnson, Victor Holm, and Jillian Hosler; and her beloved great grandson Anders Clark; step daughter Candace Burek (John), their son Gregory, and many, many nieces and nephews.
The family invites friends & acquaintances to a celebration of Chris’ Life at Highland Park United Methodist Church at 2 pm Saturday. In lieu of flowers donations may be forwarded to White Center Food Bank.
(Picture of Ms. Holm is from a group photo taken by Christopher Boffoli at the February 2009 “Rosies” gathering.)