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Anita Venema

December 28, 1925 June 13, 2018
Anita Venema
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Obituary for Anita Venema

ANITA JOY VENEMA

Anita Joy Crum Venema passed away June 13, 2018, in Addy, Washington. Born December 28, 1925, in Seattle, she was the daughter of Louis and Myrtle Crum and the elder sister of Robert Crum. Over the years she often reflected on the idyllic life she lived—the first 21 years as a resident of Seattle’s Broadview neighborhood participating in Girl Scouting, the Masonic Order of Rainbow Girls as Worthy Advisor, and school activities. At age ten, Anita and three friends formed the Cardinal Club, which endured as a lifelong close friendship cherished by Anita, Glenna, Gloria, and Barbara.

In 1947, after attending Griffin Murphy Business College, Anita married the catch of the neighborhood, returned Purple Heart veteran Walter Venema. Their marriage began with a six-month fishing honeymoon in Alaska on their 31’ trawler, the Melody. Anita helped her new husband with fishing, did laundry on the beach with a washboard, and shared cooking tasks with Walt in the tiny galley kitchen. Quarters were tiny, and there was no head—just a bucket on a rope.

Back in Seattle, Walt and Anita continued their life together. They raised seven children in Broadview, near their own childhood homes, and participated in many north Seattle community activities. As a mom, Anita was active in PTA, Campfire Girls, Boy Scouts, and Rainbow Girls. She was president of the Seattle Schoolmasters’ Wives club and held many offices in the Seattle Milk Fund and the Broadview Green Cross Safety Council. Extended family was always important to Walt and Anita—both Crum and Venema families gathered regularly for holidays and visits with multiple generations of siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, and grandparents.

Walt, Anita, and their children loved the outdoors, enjoying camping trips, picnics, and wildlife. In the 1950s, they spent many weekends and vacations near Greenbank, Whidbey Island, at their cabin overlooking Puget Sound. When ferry schedules became a challenge, Walt and Anita bought property on the more accessible Camano Island and developed a family getaway there. The family also traveled to other Pacific Northwest locations. The kids loved camping, fishing, clamming, oystering, and boating. Anita was never hesitant to bait hooks, clean fish, shuck oysters, or get her boots wet.

Once her children were all in school, Anita took art lessons, discovering a hidden talent, and became an accomplished painter with acrylics, oils, and water colors. She tole painted all the cabinets in the family’s kitchen as well as many home accessories. The family loved her explorations into cake decorating, as there were many practice cakes for various occasions and holidays. Huge sheet cakes often appeared on Friday afternoons and were gone by Sunday. When the backyard apple trees bore abundantly, Anita baked large deep dish pies and canned jar after jar of applesauce.

Retirement years brought Anita and Walt the freedom to travel extensively in the U.S. and around the world. They enjoyed trips via air, train, cruise ships, car, and motor home. They visited children and grandchildren in other states and countries and attended Walt’s WWII tank battalion reunions in the U.S. and Normandy, France. Discovering the Elderhostel travel network, they picked up new creative skills and studied history in many locations. In later years, Anita considered their 1999 Holy Land Tour Cruise to be the trip of her lifetime.

The creative Anita always enjoyed many arts and crafts. She stocked pens, paper, and scissors in almost every room of the house. Sewing, knitting, crocheting, tole painting, oil painting, water colors, and many other forms of arts and crafts filled whatever free time Anita found. She said that she decorated with too much rather than too little and collected too many books and recipes.

After moving out of the large family home in Broadview in 1986, Anita and Walt divided their time between an Edmonds condo near the beach and their second home on Camano Island. Fishing, clam digging, goeducking, beachcombing, and gardening were favorite pastimes. Anita and her friends enjoyed many a bridge and pinochle game. The Cardinal Club gals met regularly for lunch for decades.

After taking weekly ballroom dancing lessons and becoming quite accomplished on the dance floor, Walt and Anita spent several New Year’s Eves receiving compliments in the Olympic Hotel ballroom. On quiet evenings at home they found themselves to be evenly matched Scrabble partners. With folding chairs in their car trunk, they were always ready for spontaneous picnics and stops at appealing viewpoints as they traveled here and there. They were active in Calvin Presbyterian Church activities including the couples’ club.

Recollecting, Anita said of her marriage, “We had a good life. We loved, laughed, and appreciated each other. From May 16, 1948, through September 9, 1963, we welcomed each dear baby with open arms. Walt’s Wilson Junior High School colleagues suggested since we hatched such beautiful children, we should be subsidized so we could continue to enlarge the family.” The young Broadview family grew to include seven children: Doug, Donn, Adele, Ross, Andrea, Todd, and Craig.

Sadly, Anita and Walt lost their two youngest sons—Todd in 2000 and Craig in 2001. In 2007 Anita and Walt moved to a retirement community in Lynnwood. After a close marriage of 62 years, Walt passed away in 2009. Anita continued to live independently for several years, keeping her health stable with careful attention to diet, exercise, and the mental stimulation of daily crossword puzzles and reading.

In May, 2017, as age began to take its toll, Anita moved to northeast Washington to live out her remaining time enjoying fresh mountain air, beautiful scenery, and personal TLC. She loved her visits from children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, a dog named Gus, and a hen she named Frolic. Many restful hours were passed watching a menagerie of chipmunks and birds visiting the feeders outside her bedroom window. The winter snow delighted her—she was always hoping for “just one more snow.”

To the very end, Anita enjoyed visiting with people, seeing birds at her window feeders, working on small projects, and organizing her bedside belongings. Her hospice care team became part of her trusted tribe. Even as her body grew weaker, she never lost her positive attitude or her cheerful, peaceful countenance. She was ready and waiting to “meet her maker” and be reunited with her husband, Walt, and sons Todd and Craig. Anita looked back on her life with deep satisfaction and contentment. Her parting encouragement for all was “Make time for things that take time. They are the things that matter.”

Anita is survived by her children Doug & Heidi Venema; Donn Venema & Terrie Demierre; Adele & Jim Noetzelman; Ross & Jenifer Venema; Annie & Steve Austin; Eleigha Venema & David Belz. She was preceded in death by her youngest sons, Todd and Craig, and her husband Walter. Anita also left a legacy of 23 grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. She was a beloved aunt and cousin on both Crum and Venema sides of the family.

Walt and Anita’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchild:

*Greg & Bonnie and children Alexis (husband Curt, son Greyson), Amanda, Hyrum, Sophie, Dallin, Addie, Rachel.
*Laina & Marc and children Marcus, Morgan, Blake, Cade, Mason
*Stephanie & Dan and children Daniel, Ben, Sam, Max, Emme
*Brittanie & Devin and children Jax, Londyn, Scotlyn
*Ashleigh & Alan and children Jeffrey, Wyatt
*Jeremy & Katrina and children Kelsey, Jessica, Declan, Kendrick, Nathaniel
*Sarah & Peter and children Abby, Tyler, Aaron, Matthew, Kate, Emma
*Bethany and children Eleora, Sophia, Serena
*Christina & Nick and children Mollie, Adam
*Kristen and children Lilly, Ava
*Kyle and son Aaydin
*Karyn & Chris
*Nick
*Lauren
*Andrew and children Cameron, Kaylee
*Caryn & Nick and children Emery, Addison
*Courtney & Isaac and children Finley, Luca
*Taylor & Trevor and children Cassidy, Parker
*Emilie and daughter Ashtyn
*Mackenzie
*Clarissa
*Zachary and son Brayden
*Hope

There will be no public service. The family will gather at a Puget Sound beach to honor Anita and Walt at one of their favorite places. Memorials may be contributed to JDRF (Type 1 Diabetes Research), 1215 4th Avenue, Suite 1100, Seattle WA 98161 (http://www.jdrf.org/northwest/) or Hospice of Spokane, PO Box 2215, Spokane WA 99210 (https://www.hospiceofspokane.org).

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