Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory
Our loving mother and grandmother, Myrtle Lorraine Dahlin (Hatcher), was born on May 20th, 1929 in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, to Eugene and Freda (Toon) Hatcher. She passed away at Cottage in the Meadow on January 1st, 2020. Myrtle moved with her family to the Lake City area of Seattle in approximately 1938. Myrtle graduated from Lincoln High School in 1947. She attended Central Washington College where she met her future husband, Ronald Dahlin. Ronald told a story that he was looking out a window where he saw the most beautiful woman in the world playing tennis and was determined to meet her. The rest is history. Myrtle’s advisor called her into his office one day and told her that she needed to make a serious decision, either tennis or her college work. Myrtle, being a very wise person chose her education degree. She graduated from Central in 1951 and started teaching in Seattle that fall.
Myrtle and Ronald were married December 21st, 1951 in Seattle. After a honeymoon to the Oregon Coast Ronald headed to Fort Benning in Georgia. Myrtle stayed in Seattle to finish out her year of teaching and then joined Ronald in Georgia where she taught high school English and drama. In 1953 they moved to Soap Lake, Washington where Myrtle taught for six years in Ephrata. Following Ephrata Myrtle taught elementary school in the following districts: 1960-1965 Northshore, 1965-1968 Bellingham and 1968-1973 Richland. In 1973 there was another move to White Swan where Myrtle did a long term kindergarten substitute position. Since Ronald was the superintendent of the district Myrtle was not able to take a permanent position there, but was hired by West Valley School District and taught 3rd grade at Wide Hollow from 1974-1977. Myrtle was an amazing and strong woman. During her time at Wide Hollow she was diagnosed with cancer and during her lunch time, while other teachers watched her students, she made daily trips to Memorial Hospital for radiation treatment. She never complained a minute. She didn’t want her own children to ever worry about her, so she didn’t tell us about her diagnosis until we came home for Thanksgiving.
In 1977 Myrtle and Ronald added to their family orchard business, which had been in the family since 1947, and moved to Zillah. During the next several years, while teaching, my parents picked, sorted fruit and took many trips to fruit stands to sell the produce that Richard, their son, didn’t send to the warehouse.
While living in Zillah Myrtle took a 1st grade position at Hilton Elementary School. After a few years she became the grade school principal, remaining there until her first retirement in 1994. Her daughter, Susan, had the privilege of substituting for her mother from 1985-1994. By working with her mother, Susan saw how a principal’s leadership could set the entire philosophy and tone for the building. Myrtle could be firm with her students, but she always disciplined with kindness and understanding. There was never a child who went without boots, coats, shoes or food. When Myrtle saw a child was lacking a necessity, she would send her daughter to the store with money to stock up.
After retiring from public education, Myrtle supervised student teachers and taught education classes at Heritage University, where she obtained her Masters of Education Degree. She then took an administration job with Epic Head Start and continued there until her final retirement at age 75.
Myrtle’s passion was reading. Shortly before she passed, she sent money to her granddaughter, Rebekah, and her daughter, Susan, in order for every child in their classrooms to choose a book from Scholastic book order. During our conversations her thoughts even up to the end, were always about our students. “Were they dressed warmly enough?” She said, “You know kids never wear proper clothes for the weather. That will never change.” She was all about the children. One of her famous sayings was, “You teach and love every child you get every year. They all need friends and are special, and if you think they are lacking something, as a teacher you try and find out what it is and help them out.”
Myrtle was preceded in death by her father, Eugene, mother, Freda, brother, Frederick, sister, Mabel, father-in-law, Ben Dahlin, mother-in-law, Anna Dahlin (Jensen), brother-in laws, Robert Gilden, Stanley Strother, Ralph Hinkley, sister-in-law, Phyllis Strother (Dahlin), and nephew, Mark Strother.
She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Ronald Lee Dahlin, sister-in-law, Kathryn Hinkley (Dahlin), sons, David (Kathleen), Richard (Alida), daughter, Susan (Carl Olden), grandchildren, Michael, Kristin, Matthew, Rachel, Sarah, Alexander, Kenneth, David, Timothy, and Rebekah, and special family friends, Jesus and Angelina Madrigal and their children Estrella and Luna. Myrtle is also survived by several great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
We wish to give a special thank you to Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital and Cottage in the Meadow. So much caring and love were shown to us in Mom’s final days.
A very special thank you to our Aunt Kathryn and cousins, Lori and Anna. This final journey was made so much easier by having you by our sides. You ran errands, visited Mom and Dad, and showed unending support and love. We love you!
We also don’t know what we would have done without granddaughters, Kristin and Rebekah. For two young ladies you were both incredible rocks in time of grief. We will forever be grateful for your love. You were right beside Grandma until the end.
You may pay your respects on Saturday, January 18th at 10:00 a.m. at Brookside Funeral Home. Services will follow at Zillah Cemetery at 12:00 noon. 100 First Ave., Zillah, Washington.
A Celebration of Life will be held mid-June at the Westport beach house that Ronald and Myrtle built.
If you would like to leave a donation in honor of Myrtle Dahlin, find an elementary school in your community or neighborhood and donate a book or two.
Please visit www.brooksidefuneral.com to leave a condolence for the family.