Gwendolyn Yansen

Gwendolyn Yansen

Gwendolyn Ellen Jones Yansen, 97, passed away Nov. 18, 2012 at her home on Shaw Island where she had lived for 53 years.

She was born March 4, 1915 in Yakima to Catherine and Alfred Jones and raised in Walla Walla. She attended Whitman College and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Home Economics. She married Don Yansen in 1938. They moved to Burien, Wash. and Don started the Yansen Electric Company.

She was very active in St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church, the building of the first permanent library building in Burien, and Camp Fire Girls.

They moved to Shaw Island full time in 1959 where they owned the Shaw Store for four years, and where she continued her strong commitment to community. She was a founding board member of the Shaw Island Library and Historical Society, the Shaw Island Sunday School, and she was the Camp Fire leader for two groups.

A devout Christian all of her life, she was a member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church at Eastsound and the Shaw Island Fellowship.

She joined Dr. Richard Fadem’s literature class right from the beginning and it was an immensely important part of her life, even after she became bedridden.

Making the world more beautiful was a guiding principle of her life. She loved creating beauty, gardening, flowers and sharing them with others. She was a booster for any project documenting Shaw Island history. Gwen was known for her remarkable memory for people and their lives, her generosity, and her positive attitude and optimism.

She is survived by her three children, Diana Wisen, Donald Yansen (Lynne) David Yansen (Debra), her grandchildren Kristina (Eric), David (Linnea), Tia (Frazier), Shana (Shoji) and Jakob, and her great-grandchildren, Andy, Carson, Everett, Shaw, Kai, Ell, and Avaline.

Her husband Don died in 1990.

The memorial service will be Sunday, Dec. 2 at the Shaw Community Center at 2 p.m.

Memorials in her name may be given to The Shaw Island Library and Historical Society endowment fund: P.O. Box 844 or Shaw Islanders, Inc- Playfield Endowment Fund P.O. Box 443 Shaw Island, WA 98286.

Submitted by Gwendolyn Yansen’s family