In Loving Memory of Mary Ida Voelker: 1932-2022


Mary Ida Voelker entered into the presence of her savior, Jesus Christ, on the evening of Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022, at Providence Centralia Hospital. Mary was born on Aug. 21, 1932, to Ida and Fred Moldenhauer in New Underwood, South Dakota. She and her six siblings grew up on a farm and attended a one-room schoolhouse. 

After graduating from New Underwood High School in 1950, Mary went to Black Hills Teacher College and earned a one year teaching certificate. She taught in a rural school until her father decided to sell the farm and retire in Clarkston, Washington. It was there, in Clarkston, that she met Charles Edmund Voelker while attending the First Baptist Church of Clarkston. Upon deciding to attend Biola University, where Charles was also attending, Mary was offered a spot in Charles’ car for the long ride down to Los Angeles to finish her Bachelor's degree in education. Soon after, Charles proposed to Mary and they were married in Clarkston on July 22, 1961. Charles joined the United States Army as a chaplain after attending seminary. The military took Charles, Mary and their sons, Phil and David, to many locales including Germany, Arizona and New York. Charles finished his military career at Fort Lewis, allowing them to make their home in Lakewood, Washington for over 20 years.

Mary worked as a teacher and tutor and loved volunteering at her local church in many roles. She is fondly remembered by many as their beloved preschool Sunday School teacher at Central Baptist Church in University Place, Washington. She also enjoyed gardening with Charles, reading and traveling to places such as Alaska, Hawaii and Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Mary and Charles had many pets over the years, but she especially loved their cat, Maggie. Most of all, Mary loved Jesus and was faithful in her devotions and prayers and enjoyed singing hymns. The family Christmas letter was always in poetic form thanks to Mary’s talents. She even wrote a hymn called “Look Long on the Cross."

She will be greatly missed by all that knew her. She is survived by her sister, Fern (Fred) Fillers of Arkansas; sons, Philip (Christine) Voelker and David Loc (Marie) Voelker; six grandchildren, Adrian, Andrew, Hannah, Sarah, Micah and Tommy; two great-grandchildren, Evan and Macy; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A special thank you to the caring staff of Providence Centralia Hospital for their kindness to our family and mom in her final days. A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. May 1 at the Sticklin Funeral Chapel in the George Washington Venue. She was buried at Tahoma National Cemetery.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Voelker family.