Mary Howe Vermeers passed away peacefully in her home on July 8, 2018, at the age of 97. Mary was born September 2, 1920, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Spaulding and Mary (Hood) Howe and older sister to brothers, Spaulding (Budney) Howe, Jr., and William (Bill) Howe, both deceased. She was happily married for 35 years to Robert (Bud) Vermeers.
Mary grew up in Minneapolis and attended Smith College and the University of Minnesota. In 1943, Mary enlisted in the U.S Navy and was stationed in Alameda, California as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate, overhauling electrical aircraft instruments. She was honorably discharged in 1945, “just in time for Christmas and all of the parties for the returning service people”. She often commented that the war played havoc with her generation; 47 of her friends died in the war.
In 1947 she moved with her family to Spokane to help with her father’s lumber business. Mary had a knack for precision and numbers and became an accountant for a CPA firm and then McCarthy Real Estate Management until her retirement.
She met her husband, Bud while fishing and they married on September 11, 1965. During her marriage to Bud, Mary became known for her love of fine food, her collection of cookbooks and great holiday gourmet meals. She was a quintessential “foodie” before foodie was even a word!
In 1992, she and Bud moved to Rockwood South! This was their final home and she loved it. After Bud died and due to her health, she spent her final years in the Health Center. The Rockwood caregivers were always so good to her and in return, she shared many stories of her childhood, cooking and gardening tips. She loved participating on the Food Committee, carefully recollecting meals that were “spot on” and meals that didn’t meet her high standards of food preparation and presentation. She always knew she was well cared for and was proud to have been a “Rockwood resident”.
Mary is survived by her nieces, Stephanie Howe Aden (Mark), Staci Howe Elmore (Mike) and Janey Howe (Jay), her stepsons Robert Vermeers III (Wanda), Richard (Rick) Vermeers (Judy), step-daughter, Kathy Habenicht, ten step-grandchildren, four grandnephews and four grandnieces.
The family expresses its deepest thank you to the Rockwood South caregivers and management for all the loving care they provided to Mary. She appreciated all of you! A memorial service will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Columbarium later this month (TBD). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rockwood Foundation, 2903 E. 25th, Spokane, WA 99223.