Our Beloved Wanda Pressley is rejoicing to sing in the presence of her Lord. The Upper Skagit Indian Elder, was the last surviving child of Lottie Tom, passed at her home on August 7, 2021, surrounded by the love of her husband and family. She was 86 years young.
Wanda, known to many as “Nita,” lived a full and joyful life. She was born to Lottie Tom Wilson and Fred Wilson in Rockport, Skagit County, on October 25, 1934 during the Great Depression. Her grandfather, Frank Tom, ran the cable ferry over the Skagit River at Rockport before a bridge was built, and the family’s home was along the riverbank across from the town. The one of eight children, Wanda had four sisters and three brothers.
In 1955, Wanda married Arthur Pressley, and the couple settled in Seattle, living for many years in a big house in the Rainier Valley. They remained devoted for the rest of her life, and on July 16 this year Wanda and Arthur celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. Together, they raised six lovely children: Maria, Katherine “Pepper,” Arthur Jr. “Bubba,” Wanda “Theresa”, David, and Lillyanne.
In the late 1970’s, Wanda was overjoyed to be reunited with a daughter born when Wanda was a young teenager, Sharon, who had been lost in the state foster care system. Sharon, who was also known as “Billy,” became part of the Pressley family, and Wanda cherished her presence until Sharon’s death in 2007.
Wanda worked for many years as a Quality Inspector at the Boeing airplane plant in Renton, Washington, and retired from there in the 90’s. Several years later she and Arthur moved to Burlington, Washington to be closer to her remaining siblings and social gatherings of the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, finally moving to Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Throughout her life, Wanda loved crocheting, playing cards, dancing, and was devoted to her church. With younger sister Josephine Myers, and sometimes accompanied by brother George Moses, Wanda loved to sing the gospel in fine harmony at many, many church and social settings. Later in life, she enjoyed visiting various tribal casinos on road trips with her fellow Upper Skagit Indian Elders. But most of all, she loved being involved in her grand and great-grandchildren, and often could be seen cheering them on at their sporting events.
She is survived by her husband, Arthur in Sedro-Woolley, as well as children: Maria Johnson of Simi Valley, California, Katherine Ward of Burlington, Arthur Jr. of Seattle, Theresa Thomsen of Sedro-Woolley, David Pressley of Tacoma, Washington and Lillyanne Pressley of Sedro-Woolley. At the time of her passing, Wanda had 20 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.
Wanda was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Violet Fernando, Lillian Lyle, Willis Lyle, James Lyle, Iola Wilson, Josephine Myers, and George Moses; daughter, Sharon.
Viewing is from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Thursday, August 12 at Lemley Chapel, 1008 Third Street, Sedro-Woolley. Funeral Services will be Friday at 10:00 a.m. at Sonrise Christian Center, 10217 Collins Road, Sedro-Woolley, with interment at the Hamilton Indian Cemetery in Hamilton near Wanda’s mother and several siblings. A Celebration of Life will follow at Sonrise Christian Center. Share your memories of Wanda and sign the online guest register.