Posted 3/20/13 (Wed)
Thelma Bottman passed away peacefully at 1:45 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 25 at the Alpine Way Retirement Apartments in Shelton, Wash.
Thelma was born on April 15, 1916, in Watford City, N.D., to Axel Sandsmark and Inga Nybakken. She was one of five children and grew up on her parents’ farm just outside Watford City, N.D. Most of the stories she told in later years came from her memories of life on the farm.
Thelma graduated high school and soon joined her older sister, Alfhild, in Bismarck, where they shared an apartment, and Thelma worked in the business office of Montgomery Ward.
In 1943, Thelma married Art Bottman in Fargo, N.D., where he worked for Pacific Gamble-Robinson, a wholesale fruit and produce company. Thelma and Art raised five children, and relocated 12 times as Art progressed in his career with PGR. She became an expert at sorting, packing, and organizing her household, as well as teaching her children the practical aspects of living – from laundry to cooking to cleaning.
Art and Thelma’s retirement years began in 1982 with Art’s retirement from PGR. These years were filled with travel, as well as an increasing number of grandchildren. Their travels included trips to China, England, Alaska, the Pribilof Islands in search of puffins, and a fall foliage tour of the Eastern United States. Thelma especially enjoyed camping in their VW bus, in which they drove the Al-Can Highway to Alaska and back.
In 2006, Art passed away unexpectedly, and Thelma moved to an assisted living facility in Shelton, Wash.
Thelma was known as an excellent seamstress and cook, a dedicated Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader, and always thought of others before herself. Prior to her husband’s death, Thelma was the one who planned and prepared wonderful meals for family gatherings, or for out-of-town visitors or relatives. Even in the assisted living facility, when her family visited her, Thelma would graciously do what she could to act as hostess! Throughout her life, she showed her love by feeding and caring for others.
In addition to her husband of 63 years, Thelma was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Ella White and Alfhild Smaltz; and her brother, Garvin Sandsmark.
Thelma is survived by her brother, Albert “Buster” Sandsmark of San Diego, Calif.; her sons, Bob and his wife, Sue, of Shelton, Wash., John and his wife, MaryAnn, of Billings, Mont., Tom and his wife, Paris, of Salt Lake City, Utah, Jeff and his wife, Liz, of Seattle, Wash.; her daughter Laurel and her husband, Eric, of Enterprise, Ore.; her grandchildren, Peter Bottman, of Kirkland, Wash., Holly Bauersfeld and her husband, Neil, and April Bottman-Haase and her husband, Jason, both couples of Seattle, Wash., Andy Bottman and his wife, Jenni, Tim Bottman, Tobin Bottman and his wife, Katie, and Nick Bottman, all of Portland, Ore., Daniel Stahlke and his wife, Sarah, of Pittsburgh, Penn., Russell Stahlke of Jacksonville, Fla., Mikhail Stahlke of Williston, N.D., Nate Bottman of Boston, Mass., Sam Bottman of Seattle, Wash.; and her great-grandchildren Cole and Myla Bauersfeld, and Aksel Haase, all of Seattle, Wash., and Jonah Bottman of Portland, Ore.
There will be no memorial service, but a family gathering will be held in the spring to celebrate her life and spread her ashes. Thelma had no favorite charity. In lieu of flowers, you may send your memorials to the charity of your choice.
The family would like to thank Thelma’s friends and extended family for their support, visits, cards, flowers and kind thoughts and prayers. Also, the family extends a special thank you to the nursing staff at Alpine Way in Shelton, where Thelma spent the last four years of her life, and to the hospice staff who helped make her final days easier.
Thelma filled many roles in her life – daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was gentle and kind, and is dearly loved and missed by all.