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Obituary of Justine DeWolfe Richards
Justine, 99, passed away peacefully at home on July 5, 2019 after enjoying one final 4th of July fireworks display over Puget Sound. Born on the spring equinox in Tacoma, Washington, on March 20, 1920 to William R. DeWolfe and Margaret Samington DeWolfe, Justine was a breath of spring to all she knew.
Justine was born with a love of travel and adventure. Soon after graduating from the University of Puget Sound, she moved to Juneau, Alaska, where she was secretary to Alaska’s War Labor Board Director. After WWII ended, she returned to the Pacific Northwest and began her career as a teacher, first in the Tri-Cities area and then for 40 years as a high school typing teacher and debate coach at Highline High School, before retiring in 1989. She supported all her students but was especially mindful of the importance of championing and encouraging the young women she taught. Justine was a generous listener and beloved teacher who imparted life lessons to her students, some of whom remained in touch with her until her passing.
Justine married John “Dick” Richards, Jr. on July 6, 1947. They shared a love of friends, family, gardening and pets, all of which enriched their lives. Their marriage ended with Dick’s death in March 1989 but Justine remained an active family member in the lives of Dick’s grandchildren, all of whom admired and adored her and called her grandma.
The next chapter of Justine’s life began in 1989 when she moved into her Mariner Manor condo. It would be her home for 30 years. She built a new family with her many neighbors, all of whom she captivated with her smile, intelligence and optimism. Justine traveled to Spain, Holland, Dubai, Alaska, Ghana, England, France, Turkey, China, Canada, Mt. Rainier, Winlock and other places near and far, but there was no place she loved more than her Des Moines condo.
Justine met her second husband, Gene Newman, in 1994. Although the attraction was immediate, they did not marry until 2008, three months before his death. They spent the intervening years travelling the globe and making each other laugh. Whether it was a swim in the pool, a hike at Mt. Rainier, sleeping under the stars at Winlock or just being in one another’s company, they were octogenarian kids in love who brought each other unfettered joy.
Justine was a believer in supporting causes important to her, particularly those related to education, nature, animals and the Democratic Party. She leaves a legacy of generosity to her family and friends, having made higher education a reality for many of them.
A loving grandma and aunt, devoted friend, gifted educator, avid reader, constant learner and animal lover, Justine is survived by many loving relatives and friends and thousands of students.
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, remembrances may be made to the charity of your choice.
Justine’s life will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Monday, Sept. 16, 2019 at The Swedish Club, 1920 Dexter Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109.
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