Marcella Dorine Calkins
August 31, 1927 – June 14, 2020
Marcella Dorine (Williams) Calkins
Dorine was born in Centralia, Washington on August 31, 1927, the third of four children and the only daughter, to Benjamin Franklin Williams and Muriel Elizabeth (James) Williams. Her older brothers made sure to educate her by throwing her in to the river at age four so she’d learn how to swim. And she loved it. Later she was also known as the only mother in the neighborhood to knock a baseball over the fence consistently causing her children to grumble about having to climb fences to find the ball. Dorine’s father died when she was 10 years old making The Great Depression last far longer for her family than others, a struggle and sorrow she never forgot.
Dorine began working while she was young and after high school had saved enough money to put herself through Centralia Community College with dreams of continuing her education to become a pharmacist. It was in school that she met a handsome young man taking advantage of the GI Bill, Kenneth Lyle Calkins. They married and Dorine’s savings paid for the birth of their first daughter, Kyle Hadley. In the early years of their marriage they lived in Ellensburg with the Kyle and baby number 2, SuAnn Denning, while Kenneth worked at Central Washington College. Two more daughters followed over an 8 year period, Victoria Metz and Melanie Mitsui. During those years, they lived in Burien and Dorine was a stay-at-home mom, seamstress of Easter dresses, camp cook, school lunch maker, and Girl Scout Leader (cases of Girl Scout cookies took up residence in the basement.) She was also very active at St. Paul’s of Shorewood Lutheran Church as a Sunday School Superintendent, Vacation Bible School Director, Council member and a member of kitchen committee. She was known to be speedy, walking a block ahead of everyone else, or driving with her lead foot on the accelerator. And she was able to ensure conformity among her daughters and the dog by use of “The Mouth,” an expression that inspired fear and dread.
Dorine’s dream of a higher education had only been delayed and she returned to school at the University of Washington, graduating with a degree in education. She was able to find a job teaching elementary school in the same school district in which her husband worked and children went to school. Her daughters were amazed to learn that her students were not affected by “The Mouth.” She met one of her students when he was an adult working as a plumber. He arrived at their home after being called for a pipe and water rescue mission and was so excited to see his favorite teacher, Mrs. Calkins. After teaching for 20 years, Dorine retired and she and Kenneth moved to Olympia, Washington, in order to live on family property at Black Lake where they held many picnics for church, family, and reunions. They enjoyed taking their grandchildren on trips and traveled the United States and the world. Dorine continued to be active at Gloria Dei working in the Altar Guild and being members of the Hope Ship and Jubilee Club.
Dorine died at age 92 on June 14, 2020 from complications due to a broken pelvis.
Dorine is survived by her daughters Kyle (Karl), SuAnn (Jim), Victoria (Francis), Melanie (Mark) and grandchildren, Jessica Moorish (Tod), Jacob Denning (Jenny), Joel Denning, Sarah Heck (Kyle), Micah Denning, Kerry Welsh, Kurt Hadley, Marisa Martin (Mitch), Corrie Metz (Russell), Cooper Metz, Hailey Davis (Brad), and Emma Mitsui and great-grandchildren, Ben Morrish, Jane Morrish, Kendra Welsh, Jasmin Welsh, Elisa Thompson, Ava Heck, Levi Heck, Nolan Moore, Ephraim Moore, and Arden Moore and many beloved nieces and a nephew.
Memorials may be made in Dorine’s name to the Endowment Fund at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1515 Harrison Avenue NW, Olympia, Washington 98502. This fund gives applicants grants and scholarships.