Tribute to Viola Wahlquist

by Bob Bach

On a cool Seattle evening, several hundred family and friends of longtime Pietisten supporter Viola Wahlquist gathered at First Covenant Church to celebrate her memory. Viola died on February 9, 2006 at the age of 92 following complications from a stroke.

Viola was born on April 8, 1914 in Seattle to Elof and Hulda Swanson who emigrated from Sweden in the late 1800s. She grew up in the First Covenant Church of Seattle where she met her husband, Arnold Wahlquist in the youth group. They were married on June 29, 1935 and spent most of their married life living on Mercer Island. Arnold died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1968 while at choir practice at the church. For the past 30 years, Viola lived in her own apartment at the home of her son, Fred and his wife, Ingrid where she was able to sew, knit, and tend her own flowers and gardens. She was a lifelong member of First Covenant Church and a tireless encourager and prayer supporter of the church family.

Her memorial service included moving tributes from her sons, Don and Fred, scripture readings from her grandsons, Steve Wahlquist and Timmy Wahlquist, a poem from her great grand-daughter, Ellen Wahlquist, and the singing of “He The Pearly Gates Will Open” by a trio composed of Dwight Nyquist, Marlene Bach, and Viola’s son, Tim Wahlquist.

Pastor Mark Nilson officiated at the service and delivered the homily. He was assisted by Aaron Markuson, retired Covenant pastor, and close friend of the Wahlquist family.

Viola is buried on a peaceful hillside overlooking Seattle. She rests alongside her beloved husband Arnold, and close to her granddaughter, Michele, who died in 1973, the daughter of son, Tim, and his wife Elaine.

Peace To Her Memory.

Bob Bach, from Angels Camp, California, is Pietisten’s roving reporter

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