Jolenta Mary (Fischer) Masterson, 95, of Sequim, WA, died peacefully in the early morning hours of October 23rd, 2023.
She was the oldest of seven children, born in Strasburg, North Dakota on September 9th, 1928 to Wendelin and Rosemary (Engel) Fischer.
Jolenta's early schooling was at St. Benedict's School in Strasburg after which she went on to complete her education in Bismarck, North Dakota where she studied nursing at St. Alexius Hospital, graduating in the Spring of 1949.
After Nursing School, she moved to Spokane, WA for work and it was there that she met Gene Masterson, a tall, handsome, mid-westerner from Missouri, who was just finishing up his Air Force training and on his way overseas. Gene had been recently called back to active duty to fight in the Korean War, but the couple seemed to have sparked something during their brief time together in Spokane, and Jolenta patiently waited for him to return.
The reward was well worth the wait, and after Gene returned, the two continued their courtship and were married in November of 1952. But with work sparse in Eastern Washington, the two newlyweds moved west to the Seattle area where Gene found work with Boeing and the couple settled down to raise a family.
Children soon came along with John, Marie, and David born in the mid to late 50s, and James coming along in 1963. Initially living in the Beacon Hill area of Seattle, the family later moved southward to Burien where housing was plentiful and the kids were settled in to school in Saint Bernadette's Parish.
Along with being a full time mom, Jolenta found her true calling at the then named "Burien General Hospital" (which later became "Highline Medical Center" and now is known as "St. Anne Hospital"). This most recent name change is rather fitting as St. Anne is the patron saint of mothers, grandmothers, and women in labor... and that is where Jolenta worked for over 30 years, as a labor and delivery room nurse in the obstetrics department at Burien General Hospital.
Life was good in Burien... together with Gene, they raised their kids (and a couple of dogs), took camping vacations in the summers, were active in their Parish, and eventually brought Jolenta's aging parents over from Spokane to live near them.
With kids raised and gone, and their careers coming to a close, Jolenta and Gene pulled up stakes in the mid-90s and moved from Burien to "Sunny Sequim" on Washington's Olympic Peninsula to begin "the rest of their lives". And it was a good decision, because they found in Sequim, a wonderful assortment of activities and community, and most of all, new and lasting dear friends, in their new home.
Among the many things she liked to do, entertaining and arranging gatherings of friends and family was one of Jolenta's favorites. Regular get-togethers with Sequim friends for dinners out at a restaurant or, more often, in each other's homes, as well as weekly Bible Study Group sessions were things always on her calendar. And as her children and grand-children will tell you, she was always offering her home with its 'little house' out in the back yard as a 'base' where you could come to stay and then go explore all that the area had to offer.
But no story of Jolenta would be complete without mentioning her love of family history. She, along with her sister, Elaine, were the family genealogists and Jolenta had a wall of full bookshelves and file cabinets to prove it! They are stuffed with various records and documents with stories, photos, and lineages of both her own Fischer/Engel family as well as her husband's Masterson/Koehn/Green relatives. Researching the history of her German lineage was simply her true passion. And it is a part of Jolenta that will live on, as we were reminded by her friend Michael Miller who is the Director Emeritus for the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at North Dakota State University... Some years ago, Jolenta gathered and submitted over 130 photos from her collection and donated them to the GRHC archive. These photos are now a part of the GRHC permanent collection and open to the public with already several hundred views.
You may have known her as "Jo", or "Jol", or "Jolly", "Aunt" or "Grandma", or simply "Mom" but by whichever name, Jolenta will always be remembered for her kindness and generosity, as well as her humor and the way that she always managed to redirect a discussion on anything around to the subject of genealogy. We'll always remember hearing her say "Just a minute..." one more time, whenever she wanted to back the conversation up a bit or better understand what was going on. We couldn't have asked for a better mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend, and will miss her every day. Her memory will live on in the hearts of all of those who loved her.
Jolenta was preceded in death by her parents, Wendelin and Rosemary Fischer, her brothers, Alois and Francis (Fr. Jonathan), her husband Eugene, and her son, James.
She is survived by her brothers, Dr. Henry (Kathleen) Fischer and Jack (Nancy) Fischer, and sisters, Elaine Worline and Judith (Sr. Judy) Fischer, as well as her children John, Marie, David (Mary), her grandchildren Laura, Kari, Josh, Samantha, Maggie, Aaron, Julia, and Sophia, and her great-grandchildren, Caitlin, Molly, Angel, Ashley, Mira, and Lucy, and many, many nieces and nephews.
We invite you to leave a remembrance here, or perhaps an anecdote, or story you may have of our Mother, our Sister, our Friend, and we hope to share some more stories with you at a memorial service to be held in mid-December. Details for this memorial may be found in the "Services" tab above.
And as we will remember and honor the life of Jolenta Masterson, we will also remember and honor the life of her youngest son, James Masterson, who preceded her in death in early 2020. We were not able to memorialize Jim earlier for multiple reasons, however, now is indeed the perfect time to celebrate his life too.
"Please accept my condolences for your loss. It was nice to have Jolenta as my next-door neighbor. Her love of life showed through all the beautiful plants and flowers she grew throughout her years in Sequim. It is a comfort to think Jolenta is now happily enjoying her well-deserved heavenly reward."
"My condolences to your family. We had loads of fun visiting Jolenta several times up in Sequim. I scanned a big lot of photos for her on one visit. She always had the best stories and her memory was so sharp. And yes, her wall of research was amazing. I remember maybe 10 years ago, I used to email the Fr and Elaine. I'm Elizabeth, Claude Eberle's daughter. My dad and Joenta were cousins."
"Mom... When you see Dad and Jim, please tell them that you are all missed very much!
Shortly before Christine left us, she handed me a quote which she wanted to be read at her memorial. It is by the Indian poet and Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore. And what he had to say really resonates, so I will leave it here also:
"At every turning of my life
I came across good friends,
Friends who stood by me
Even when the time raced me by.
Farewell, farewell my friends
I smile and bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears, for I need them not
All I need is your smile.
If you feel sad, do think of me
For that's what I'll like.
When you live in the hearts of those you love
Remember then, you never die."
(PS: When you see Chris... please tell her "John says 'Hey!'".)"