One of SPU’s longest living alumni

Diantha Stewart Willmer ’41 celebrated her 100th birthday at the Swedish Club in Seattle on March 1, surrounded by her family of Seattle Pacific University alumni.

SPU President Daniel J. Martin wrote her a birthday note: “As one of our longest living alumni, your life, grounded in
the gospel of Jesus Christ, is a vivid example of the competence, character, wisdom, and grace that we desire to instill in
all of our graduates.”

It was a fitting tribute to Willmer, a teacher who has spent her life following the lesson plan laid out by the Master Teacher. She taught at several Seattle public schools including Beacon Hill, Viewlands, and Adams Elementary.

Willmer’s own three children, SYLVIA WILLMER JEWELL ’71; VIRGINIA WILLMER SMITH; and WESLEY WILLMER ’71, MEd ’73 all attended SPU and followed in her footsteps as educators. Willmer has eight grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

Willmer has been an active member of Trinity Church, (formerly Green Lake Presbyterian) for 50 years, where she taught Sunday school, vacation Bible school, chaired the church preschool board, and helped her late husband Kenneth (1915–1999) with his duties as a church deacon. She still attends Bible Study Fellowship.

After retirement, Willmer became involved in the Christian women’s group, Seattleans, that meets at First Free Methodist Church. Willmer was president of this group for years, and she was instrumental in establishing an endowed scholarship that supports and encourages future generations of Christian women at SPU.

Photo by Lynn Anselmi

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