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Obituary of Rena Lorraine Merithew
Rena Lorraine Merithew (née Bott), 83, of Olympia, Wash., passed away on October 10, 2023, of natural causes. She was surrounded by loved ones when she passed.
Rena was born on May 13, 1940, to Dorothy and W.G. “Gerry” Bott in Tacoma, Wash. After graduating from Lincoln High School, Rena attended University of Puget Sound, where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree in 1962. Her degree served her well in an illustrious career, serving the Tacoma and Olympia communities as a social worker, notably starting the Social Services Department at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, where she served for 26 years. As Director of Social Work, Rena spearheaded the project to create the Sunshine House, on-site housing for families of children receiving cancer treatment.
In 1959, while attending college, Rena met the love of her life, Robyn Lynn Merithew, and they wed in 1963. Rena and Robyn had three children together, Trina, Amy, and Jonathan.
Rena often said that, ever since she was a little girl, what she most wanted to be in life was a mother. Her dedication to her children was evident to all and she was a constant source of love and support, encouraging them each to follow their interests and individual strengths. Even after losing her husband to cancer in 1986, Rena was a strong and steadfast mother. As teenagers, bereaved by the passing of their father, her children found solace and security in knowing she was there for them.
Rena had the joy of living to see each of her children happily married and of getting to know and love eight grandchildren into their young adulthood. She was also the proud and loving “namma” of three great-grandchildren.
Following her retirement, Rena continued to be an active contributing member of the Olympia community, including such roles as serving on the Thurston County Medic One Emergency Medical Services Council. Until the time of her passing, she was a member of three book clubs, enjoyed swimming at Tumwater Valley three times a week, and was a subscribing ticketholder for 25 years at Harlequin Productions. Rena was also a beloved friend, who never missed a birthday and prioritized regular get-togethers.
Rena was predeceased by her parents, Dorothy and Gerry; and her husband, Robyn. She is survived by her brother, Larry; sister-in-law, Leslee; and her children, Trina, Amy, and Jonathan; as well as many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on November 7, 2023, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1601 North Street SE, Olympia, WA 98501.
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