CORVALLIS — Wilma Rasmussen’s life here on earth has come to a close, the last page in her book has turned. Many loving, comical and heart warming stories are held within these pages. If you are friend or family, you know this to be true. You are probably a part of them in a way which etched her memory in your heart forever.
Wilma was born May 29, 1921, east of Corvallis, on her grandfather’s homestead near Willow Creek Road. She passed on April 6, 2018, at her long-time residence on Hamilton Heights. Many valley residents are familiar with her home — a 1910 schoolhouse, where the bell rang out to note her passing.
The second daughter of Lyle Leona Hawker and Alvin Henry (Jack) Whitesitt, Wilma graduated from Corvallis High in 1939 and nursing school at St. Patrick’s (Missoula) in 1942. She served in the Army Nurse’s Corps (ANC) in World War II, as a 2nd Lieutenant and was stationed at an Army Hospital located in Brigham City, Utah. As a neuropsychiatric nurse, Wilma cared for countless soldiers who were suffering from what was known at the time as “shell shock”.
On December 28, 1946, Wilma married her sweetheart, Willard James “Bill” Rasmussen in her parent’s house in Corvallis. Wilma and Bill welcomed children, Alvin Jay and LeeAnn, and Wilma continued her lifelong career as a nurse. After working for doctors Palmer and Ellis in Hamilton, she retired in 1986.
A member of the “Greatest Generation” and having lived through the Great Depression, Wilma was a nurse to the end, continuing to care for her community and those around her. Over the 30 years of her retirement, she was an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary, American Legion Post 91 (dual member from her veteran status), and Bitterroot Women’s Club (formerly Corvallis Women’s Club).
2003 marked one of the highlights in Wilma’s book, when she presided over the Corvallis Memorial Day Parade as the grand marshall. Whether she was selling poppies over Memorial Day, standing for the national anthem at her beloved Bitterroot Bucs baseball tournaments, or flying the American flag in front of her home, she believed in this country and what it stands for.
Preceded in death by her parents, Lyle and Alvin “Jack” Whitesitt, sister Virginia Southmayd, brother John Albert Whitesitt, and husband Willard “Bill” Rasmussen. Survived by son Alvin Jay (Karen) of Corvallis; daughter LeeAnn Counts (Charlie) of Florence; grandchildren Laura Rasmussen (John McGee) of Corvallis; Cory Rasmussen (Philene) of Fairbanks, Alaska; Elizabeth (Tony) Ward of Clarksville, Tennessee; great-grandchildren Dylan Ward (Hannah) of Tacoma, Washington, Ashlyn Rasmussen, Haylee Rasmussen, Cayden Ward, Aidan Rasmussen McGee, and Keira Rasmussen.
A military graveside service will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, April 10, at the Corvallis Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, April 9, at the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchapel.com. Military honors will be presented by the U.S. Army and Corvallis American Legion.
Memorial donations may be made to the Bitterroot Humane Association (Hamilton) or the Bitterroot Bucs Baseball Organization (Florence).