Wilma Rachel Spengler, 78, passed away Dec. 30, 2014, at the West Linn, Ore., home of her youngest son, surrounded by family.
Wilma is survived by her sons, Christopher Spengler, of Hood River, Ore., and Timothy Spengler and his wife, Stacey, of West Linn, Ore.; sister Rita Sandbloom, of Fountain Valley, Calif.; brother James Alexanian, of Huntington Beach, Calif.; three grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She also leaves behind many friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Steven, and her sister, Linda Krajian.
Wilma Alexanian was born Oct. 16, 1936, in Boston, Mass., to parents Arshagouhi (Alice) and Ludwig Alexanian. She was raised in Pasadena, Calif., and educated at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, receiving a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Education degree, respectively. While initially starting her teaching career in Southern California, Wilma’s adventurous spirit quickly took her to the Alaskan Interior, where she worked as an elementary school teacher on the military bases of Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright. It was at Fort Wainwright where she met Steven, a fellow educator, and in 1963, they married. Together they worked in education and raised their family in Fairbanks.
Wilma enjoyed exploring and living in Alaska, and during her summers off she would travel and visit family, spend time at the cabin she and Steven built along the Chena River, or just go camping and enjoy the beauty of the world around her. In the mid-1980s Wilma and Steven retired from education and moved to a rural farm in Hood River, Ore. Wilma worked for several years as a real estate broker and developed many close relationships with associates and other members of the Hood River community. She continued to spend time with her family and friends, and travel throughout her retirement.
Wilma had a strong fondness for the outdoors. She loved the sunny beaches of California and Hawaii, the rugged coast of Oregon, and trekking around the mountains of Europe, Alaska, the Sierras, and the Cascades. She loved to hike and ski, both cross country and downhill; and had fond memories of her time working in Yosemite National Park during her college summers. She was always curious, and she could spend hours poking around an ocean tide pool, and then days investigating what she saw. She was an eager and willing travel companion for any friend or family member heading out on a trip. Wilma’s company was always loved.
A memorial service will be held at Anderson’s Tribute Center, 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 11 a.m. Please join Wilma’s family at a reception following the service.
The family asks that remembrances be sent to any of the charities that honor Wilma’s memory and represent her interests, including the Heart of Hospice in Hood River, Oregon.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000. Please visit andersonstributecenter.com to sign the family guest book.
Condolences are being received online.
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