Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
Ethel Rae Adams Memorial
Ethel Rae Adams Memorial

Ethel Rae Adams

Ethel Rae Adams

Thursday, August 24th, 2023

Ethel Rae (Moe) Adams, 90, passed away peacefully on August 24th, 2023 in Sedro-Woolley, WA.  She was born in Valley City, North Dakota on June 20, 1933, the youngest of 7 children born to George A. and Laura (Beleal) Moe.

Ethel grew up on a farm outside of Valley City and would stay in town during the school year with family and friends. In 1949 the family moved to Mt. Vernon WA where Ethel graduated from high school in 1951.  After graduation Ethel went to work for the local telephone company as an operator.  In December of 1951 she met her love Richard (Shorty) Adams, and they married on February 8th 1952. They moved to Eugene OR, where they welcomed their first-born son Tim in 1953. The new family moved to a ranch outside of Brewster, WA where their family grew with daughter Debi in 1954 and son Dan in 1955. During their time on the ranch, they met Bob and Donna Sims, who became life-long friends.

In 1957 they moved back to the “ wet ” side of the state and welcomed their fourth child, Randy, in 1959. They moved to Jenson’s Farm in 1960 where they lived for 14 years. While taking care of their home and raising her 4 children, Ethel had several different jobs over the years such as working nights at the cannery, selling Tupperware, a waitress/cook at Phil’s Boat House on the Skagit river (that was a great summer), as a maid at the Cocusa Motel, and working on the line at Nelson’s Spud House and Delahunt’s Spud House.

Ethel and Shorty bought their house near Lyman, WA in 1975. Shorty was driving long haul truck, so Ethel obtained her CDL and drove with him until Pam told her she needed to stay home and take care of the grandchildren she asked for. Ethel started babysitting Jessica and Jonathan then took on a few more kids and Grandma’s Daycare was born. More kids followed, and the business grew, leading to years of happy kids and their parents. Ethel even employed some of her prior kids, setting their lives off in a positive light. When Shorty retired from driving, he too joined the staff. Even after the daycare closed, they continued to babysit their great grandchildren.

In October 2016 after 64 years of marriage Ethel lost the love of her life, Richard (Shorty) Adams. Ethel continued to reside at their home near Lyman, enjoying time with friends and family.

Ethel is survived by her son, Tim (Pam) Adams, daughter Debi Adams, son, Dan (Vicky) Adams, and daughter in-law Kris Adams, 7 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild.

Ethel is preceded in death by her husband Richard (Shorty) Adams, and her son Randy Adams. Also, brothers and sisters, George (Judd), Lloyd, Clifford, Don, Ruth and Barbara.


Mom was an important part of my life.  We took an upholstery class at the college, went to bingo and the casinos often and took turns cooking dinner to try new recipes among other things.  She babysat Jes and Jon and cleaned my house while I worked.  She taught me to make lefse.  We traveled to Apache Junction, AZ to vacation with her brothers and sister. Ethel taught us all Skipbo, dominos, Uno and 31.  We spent many hours playing those fun games.  Also, one day we were shopping in Colville Walmart, I was pushing the cart and turned a corner and almost hit someone.  Mom said, “She drives like that too!”  I will miss her and her sense of humor so much.  (Daughter-in-law – Pam)

Ethel was a wonderful woman. I met her in 1975 when I started dating her son Randy. She told me that you are a guest the first time you enter the house. Afterward, you are family. She was the best mother-in-law you could have. My mom told me that I got lucky to have her. Early in Randy and my married life, she was always there. Ethel showed me how to make lefse, play dominoes, and to live each day to the fullest. She could have a house full of daycare kids and still go into town to help clean a friend’s house. I once ran the daycare so she and Shorty could go visit grandkids in Eastern Washington. Once was enough for me. If anyone in the family had a problem, she would have a solution. Ethel was one of a kind. (Daughter-in-law – Kris Adams)

Gramma taught me to crochet. This started as making blankets and skirts for my dolls as a kid, then became a constructive way to fidget quietly through college lectures, resulting in a pile of scarves, baby blankets, and afghans. (Granddaughter – Jes)

BINGO, Grandma Ethel loved bingo.  She always had a bag of Bingo supplies in the truck of her car.  I remember many nights going with Grandma to play bingo, often staying up much past my bedtime and sleeping all the way home. Grandma Ethel’s house was not large but it was the gathering place and there was always room for ALL of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy holidays and other gatherings.  Ever since we moved to the east side of the state whenever we would visit all my cousins and childhood friends would stay over at Grandmas often staying up all night playing games and watching movies.  Everyone was always welcome. There were several times when I came to visit with my family, when we arrived Grandma would tell us her bed had fresh sheets for us and she would sleep on the sofa (she was in her eighties).  We would argue with her about not wanting to kick her out of her bed but we always lost. (Grandson – Jonathan)

Jonathan and I started dating at seventeen, we were young, but I could see how lucky he was to have grandparents that were so involved in his life, so I quickly adopted them all as my own.  I have many great memories of life lessons from Grandma Ethel. The year we graduated from High School, Jonathan and I spent a week helping at Grandma’s Daycare. We had a lot of fun helping with the kids but learned we were not ready for our own kids.  I learned many other things from Grandma Ethel like how to make lefse with Grandma Ethel there to “approve” I added enough flour.  Another time I wanted to learn how to crochet so she taught me the “idiot stitch” as she called it. (Granddaughter-in-law LaDawn)

Years ago I changed my grandma’s name to Yoda, the wise one. She taught me at 21, that if you have Sex on the Beach, you’ll get sand in your box, and there is a wrong way to use a ketchup bottle. I loved her wit and sense of humor, her strength and persistence, and I honestly don’t know where I would be today if not for her guidance. We took many road trips together and everytime I learned something new about her and the family. Her stories were epic (Fukowee), as was the music (Stan Borison) we listened to while making lefse each year. I will miss that crazy old lady everyday, and I am so thankful for everything that became possible in my life by having her love. Thank you Yoda! (Granddaughter – Rebecca)

Reading the memories made me think of a couple from when we were young that are a couple of my favorites.  When grandma said “Sugar” that meant her car wouldn’t start! And when she would load us kids up in the back of her big car to go down to the bank, I always thought she was taking us to the sucker store drive through .  I thought that was the purpose of the trip lol. Nobody else I knew had a grandma that cool! (Granddaughter – Janel)

All my Favorite memories of Grandma Ethel come from the couple weeks we would spend at her house every summer for vacation bible school. Every year I looked forward to going to Great Grandma Ethel’s and spending time with everyone. I always loved hearing Grandma’s stories about when she was younger and all the crazy fun adventures she had. (Great granddaughter – Jadyn)

I remember going to see great grandma Ethel at her house and playing with all my cousins.  Once she wanted a picture of all her great grandkids, so we went outside to take a group picture. She wanted a picture in front of the tree in her front yard, but we talked her into letting us climb in the tree instead.  It turned out to be a fun picture. (Great grandson – Dylan)

I remember when Grandma used to drive me to church and pick up my cousin Allie on the way and she and I would do crafts and eat fruit snacks in Sunday School. (Great granddaughter – Ryenne)

Going to church Sunday morning then going back to her house and having egg salad sandwiches, also having lots of memories with all of my cousins at grandma’s house. One was playing outside jumping off the ivy bush and then getting yelled at by grandma not to do it. (Great granddaughter – Allison)

I remember my great grandmother as a strong woman who raised four kids, ran a daycare and helped raise not only her grandkids, but her great grandkids. I remember her struggling severely towards the end of her life, that will never erase the excellency she accomplished in this life. She was very prominent in the early stages of my life. When my parents would drop me off at her house and I would go to preschool, when I spent long summers at her house, when great grandpa was alive, though I don’t remember him well, I remember staying in her house when my parents were getting divorced. I remember being so excited to go to her house and the possibility of seeing my cousins. I remember how kind and firm she was. My great grandmother was an amazing person. (Great granddaughter – Alex)

How I remember my grandma, that she was kind and helpful and my grandma was a GREAT grandma. (Great grandson – Colton)

A celebration of Ethel’s life will be held Saturday, November 11 from 1 -3 at the Burlington Lutheran Church.  In lieu of flowers you can donate to Seattle Children’s Hospital at www.Seattlechildrens.org (at the website choose Giving) or Granddaughter Jes’ non-profit animal rescue, Wayward Creatures Relief Agency, 576 Old Arden Highway, Colville, WA  99114 or your favorite charity.   Share your memories of Ethel and sign the online guest register.


  • Sandi Strickland Phillips

    My deepest condolences to the family!!!
    She was the best ever!
    She will be greatly missed.

  • Katie (Rayfield) Webber

    Grandma Ethel is all wrapped up in my favorite memories of childhood. I was a member of her extended daycare family for years, and even kept going for stays once she “retired” the daycare. I remember both her and Pappa Shorty having the kindest and most loving hearts and was always happy to be with them. She kept us busy outside with “Mr Tree”, the playhouses in the back and building twine forts down on “Mud Lake”. Grandma Ethel had a full, joyous laugh and shared it with us frequently. I think about those times often and she’s had a huge impact in my life over the years, especially as I look over my own family. My heart and prayers go out to the family while you go through this time. Grandma Ethel, and Pappa Shorty, will both be sorely missed and were deeply loved by many.

  • Joan "Lipsey" Petersen

    People, (including me) felt comfortable, valued, and cared for by Ethel.
    She worked hard from dawn till dusk and didn’t cut corners.
    She ran her daycare like a big household, not an institution.
    Lunch was always spread with lots of fruit and vegetables.
    And the cookies were usually homemade.
    There were flowers all around the house and hanging baskets strung from the porch.
    There were ponies to ride and hills to climb and trails to follow on the hillside behind the house.
    Back in the days when kids could still play in a sandpit, new towns and kingdoms and holes and caves were often created in the backyard.
    There were buoys and ropes that swung from trees and tires to climb and a playhouse full of crates and dishes and trucks and supplies.
    She had a four-foot pool before anyone else did and sprinklers and slip&slides and extra swimsuits and towels and water balloons so everyone could play.
    She had fruit trees and a garden and laundry drying from the line in the summer.
    And there was sledding on the hill when it snowed, with extra mittens and hats.
    She got lots of her supplies from garage sales and was always thinking about ways kids could have a fun day.
    She did a good thing, creating that rich, exciting, healthy, daycare in the community.
    I think it was just who she was, she liked helping others, she did nothing half-way, and she was welcoming to everyone.
    I learned a lot from her, enjoyed working for her, and have many fond memories of spending time with friends at her house.

  • Linda

    Ethel was my daycare lady. she loved her family, and they quickly became my second family. Many of them I still maintain relationships with today. I remember new kids coming for the first time. they would cry and she would hold them. By the end of the week they would be crying because they had to go home. I always thought it was magical. I will miss her forever.

  • Lori Peters (Sims)

    My deepest sympathy to Ethel’s family. Ethel was a very dear friend to the Sims family. I loved all the time spent visiting Shorty and Ethel at their home in Sedro Wooley. Shorty and Ethel spent a lot of time in Loomis and I totally enjoyed all of their visits as well. Shorty and Ethel were “family”. My parents enjoyed ALL the adventures with them as well.

    Now, Ethel is with Shorty and my Dad and Mom in Heaven playing cards, telling stories, and watching us.

    Again, my deepest condolences to the Adams’ family.

  • Norm & Linda Mitchell Family

    Adams Family,
    We are so sorry to read of the passing of your mother. She was always so upbeat and friendly when we would see her and always with a smile on her face and she will surely be missed. Our condolences to all of you at this difficult time.

  • Marilyn Olson

    Bill and I are sorry to hear about Ethel’s passing. I loved visiting with her at the family gatherings. Her laughter , smile and strong family values were amazing. My in laws grew up in Valley City and Warren and Ethel were cousins. The connection was strong between all of them.
    Ethel you will be deeply missed. Rest in peace beautiful lady

  • Linda (daycare kid)

    Ethal was my daycare lady. she loved her family, and always kept in touch no matter how far away they were. Quickly her family became my second family, and I still maintain relationships with many of them today. My favorite memory of her was watching new children get dropped off at the daycare. They would cry, and she would just hold them. Within a few days the same child would burst into tears when they had to go home. I always thought it was magical. 75% of my childhood memories revolve around Ethel, and I will miss her dearly. Linda