RosaMae Woodward Sterling, passed away on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at Martha and Mary Health Care Services in Poulsbo, Washington. She was born on November 20, 1910 and was 106 years of age.
She is survived by daughter Sylvia Sterling, grandchildren Lorna Holmes, Cynthia Holmes, Stuart Holmes, Renita Sterling, Derek Sterling, and Angela Bickerton, 8 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. Her husband Theodore Sterling, sons Maurice Sterling and Ted Sterling Vasquez, and grandson Steven Sterling preceded her in death.
RosaMae was born to farmers Anna (Pittman) and Orace Woodward in the Palouse country of Eastern Washington, and farming was her vocation for the rest of her life. At age 21 she moved to Kelso, Washington, and married Theodore H. Sterling, a logger and tree farmer, in 1932. They were married for 57 years, until his death in 1990. Together they bought a large ‘stump ranch’ outside Longview, Washington, which became her own beloved farm. There she was glad to be able to raise sheep, cows, vegetables, apples, and three children, Sylvia, Maurice, and Jay Theodore (Ted.)
RosaMae loved music, was an accomplished soprano, and saw to it that all her children had music lessons. Singing in church always brought her joy. Local history fascinated her, and she was a long-time member of the Cowlitz County Historical Society. At the same time, she like to explore the wider world, taking trips to Europe, the Middle East, Central America, Ecuador, and even living in Belize for a while later in life. At home in the U.S. she delighted in helping immigrant families from places like Iran, El Salvador, and Mexico as they started new lives.
Hers is also a story of great loss, but even greater perseverance. As a child, RosaMae lost her mother to thyroid disease, the first of many such trials she suffered throughout her life. But always and through everything she remained a rock of strength for her family and friends, and beloved by them. Her faith could not be shaken. She looked forward to the peace and reunion with the departed which she is surely enjoying now. As one of her favorite poems has it,
In those celestial pastures
Beside still waters deep,
May the eternal future find me
With a little flock of sheep.
The family would like to thank the staff at Martha and Mary in Poulsbo for their care. Private burial at Bunker Hill Cemetery, Longview, Washington. Please sign the online guest book for the family. Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home.