Obituary: Kathleen Joanne Gillanders (Kathy) Thorsen

Kathy Thorsen
Kathy Thorsen

Kathy, loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend, born July 31, 1936 to Harry and Mary Gillanders, passed away peacefully at her Edmonds home Nov. 8, 2016.

Born and raised in the Greenlake neighborhood, Kathy attended Greenlake Elementary, John Marshall Jr. High, and graduated Roosevelt High School in 1954. She earned her BA and Masters of Education from the University of Washington, where she affiliated with Delta Gamma Sorority.

It was during her senior year that Kathy was introduced to the love of her life, Mike Thorsen. They married soon after and started their 58 year life together. Kathy is survived by her husband, Mike; sons Tim (Rebecca) of Portland, Maine; David (Sandy) of Lake Forest Park: daughter Karen Cummings (Rich) of Edmonds; brother Ed Gillanders of Poulsbo and grandchildren Elise, Hanna, Haley, Maggie, Emily and Michael.

Kathy had a successful 25-year career as a teacher and administrator in the Highline and Edmonds school districts. She found her greatest joy in volunteering for both church and community. She will be missed by the Edmonds Merchants Association, Edmonds Arts Festival, and the Edmonds Yacht Club. Kathy was an expert at organizing and bringing people together for purposeful events. Her enthusiastic participation will be missed. Her gift to all that knew her was her wonderful parties and gatherings.

Kathy and Mike spent Januarys in Mexico, where she loved her early morning walks in the sand. In summers, they enjoyed time on their boat in the San Juans and Desolation Sound. It was there that Kathy enjoyed the scenic beauty and the bountiful seafood.

She traveled the world, always interested in native cultures and crafts. Recently she and Mike enjoyed France, Peru and Panama.

Kathy could light up a room and she did so with her family and many, many friends. We won’t forget her smile and her laughter.

Should you care to make a donation in her name, please consider the Group Health Foundation Hospice Fund. Her memorial will be at 1 p.m., Nov. 19 at The Center for Spiritual Living, 5801 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle.

One Reply to “Obituary: Kathleen Joanne Gillanders (Kathy) Thorsen”

  1. I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy through participation in Edmonds in Bloom activities. The picture used in this article conveys what I remember most about her, i.e., someone who could light up a room with her smile and beautiful personality.


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