Bertha Maude Gilmore

September 25, 1921December 4, 2018

Bertha Darrow Toyer Gilmore Sept. 25, 1921 to Dec. 4, 2018

Bertha was born in a small cabin with a dirt floor, near Arlington, Washington. She was the youngest daughter to Walter and Ida (nee Coulson) Darrow. The family moved to the Florence Acres area outside of Monroe, WA, when she was a child. The family homestead did not have electricity until Bertha was 16 years old. She was one of twelve children to be raised to adulthood by the couple. She graduated from 9th grade at the Frank Wagner School in Monroe. Due to illness and a lack of money to go to school, she was 18 years old when she graduated. She met and married her first husband, Henry "Bud" Toyer, in 1943 and became an instant mother to two step-daughters, Mary Ann and Delores. Bertha and Bud welcomed two sons, Richard and Fred, and raised the family in Sultan, WA, before moving to the "new" Hwy 2 between Sultan and Startup, where they built a house and farmed. The family grew flowers, mostly gladiolas, and sold the bulbs and blooms. They also grew food, which Bertha would can to feed the family all year. They were also active members of the Fern Bluff Grange. While Bertha worked at home, Bud was a logger. In 1955, the family, except for oldest daughter, Mary Ann, moved to Crescent City, California for work. Bud died in 1960 from cancer. Bertha was three months pregnant and she returned with her family to Startup, where she gave birth to a daughter six months after the death of her husband. Bertha worked at a truck stop outside Gold Bar, WA, as a cook and waitress. Bertha was well known for her cooking and baking, especially her pies. She loved to bake, and no one skipped dessert at family dinners. Bertha loved country music, square dancing and ballroom style dancing. She was known to dance around her kitchen, humming to herself every morning. In 1968, she married her second husband, Riley Gilmore. After living five years in Startup, the family moved to Gold Bar. It was there that Bertha became active in civic matters. She was active in the VFW Auxiliary, the Eastern Star, the Grange, and joined the City of Gold Bar planning commission, where she served for 18 years. She was appointed and then elected to the City Council. She ran for mayor and was elected. She served two years before retiring to Snohomish, WA. She moved back to Gold Bar, but never again became involved in politics. She was a member for 75 years of the Fern Bluff Grange in Sultan, serving in many offices. After spending a few years in Everett, WA, at the age of 89 she built a new home back in Startup. In 2017, she moved to senior housing center Everett, and then to Brookdale, Monroe, where she lived until she had a heart attack shortly after Thanksgiving. She died at 97 years old at the Providence Everett Hospital with family watching over her. She is survived by her brother, Norman Darrow, sisters-in-law, Lois Darrow and Cindy Darrow, son, Richard Toyer and daughter-in-law, Karen Shearer, stepdaughter, Mary Ann Lancaster, daughter, Janet and son-in-law, Zac West; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, both blood and of the heart. She is preceded in death by her parents, eight brothers, two sisters, husband, Riley Gilmore, son Fred Toyer, and step-daughter, Delores Smith. Viewing will be held on Friday, December 14, 2018 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, and Saturday morning before the funeral from 11:00am to 12:30pm at Purdy & Kerr with Dawson Funeral Home, 409 W. Main St., Monroe, WA. Funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 15 at 1:00pm at the Purdy & Kerr chapel, followed by burial at the IOOF Cemetery on Old Owen Road. She requested that people attending her funeral not wear black. Wear colors to celebrate her life, not mourn her passing. Bertha loved flowers and asked that gladiola bulbs or a rose bush be planted next spring in her memory. Donations may be made to the VFW Auxiliary, your local garden club, or your local Grange.


  • Richard Toyer (Karen Shearer), Son
  • Janet West (Zac), Daughter
  • Mary Ann Lancaster, Stepdaughter
  • Norman Darrow, Brother
  • Lois Darrow, Sister-in-law
  • Cindy Darrow, Sister-in-law
  • Numerous Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren.

    Bertha was preceded in death by her first husband Henry "Bud" Toyer in 1960, her second husband Riley T. Gilmore in 1992, son Fred Toyer in 1998, stepdaughter Delores Smith in 2018, her parents, eight brothers, and two sisters.

  • Kevin Dunker
  • Robert Toyer
  • Curtis Toyer
  • Michael West
  • Patrick Winter
  • Leonard Belcher
  • David Toyer, Honorary
  • Steven West, Honorary


  • Visitation Friday, December 14, 2018
  • Visitation Saturday, December 15, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bertha Maude Gilmore

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