Lynn Elizabeth McAleer (nee Willis), age 84, residing in Sequim, Washington passed away on February 19, 2023 in her home surrounded by her family.
Lynn is survived by her loving husband of 59 years, Michael E. McAleer; daughter Molly Lowry (William); son Robert McAleer (Kathleen); daughter Colleen McAleer (David Gilles); daughter Kathleen Lynch (Kevin); and son E. Michael McAleer (Molly); 13 grandchildren, Ryan, Benjamin, Madeline, William, and Samuel Lowry; Catherine and Colin McAleer; Jonathan and Nicholas Ellison; Sean and Danielle Lynch; and Michael and Mary McAleer; sisters in law, Patricia Willis, Claudia Willis, and Mary Ellen Elbert. She was preceded in death by her parents the Honorable Robert John Willis II and Winifred Mae Willis (nee Hermsen); brothers Robert J. Willis, and James B. Willis.
Lynn was born October 19, 1938, in Yakima, Washington. There she graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy in 1956, and then graduated cum laude from Gonzaga University in 1960 with a B.A. in Education. An educator, she taught 6th grade and English in Des Moines, Washington and Baumholder, Germany, teaching in the Department of Defense school system.
In Baumholder, new to Germany and the German language, she accidentally came under contract for two Volkswagen Beetles. Friends pulled in 2nd Lieutenant Mike McAleer, proficient in German and cars, who unwound the second contract—and asked her for a date. She agreed and the two were married on July 6, 1963, the start of a 60-year love affair marked by remarkable mutual admiration, devotion, and love.
In less than seven years, seven moves, and Mike’s two year-long Vietnam tours, Lynn bore five children. For the next decades, she ran a tight ship, instilling work ethic, manners, learning, and proper grammar. She was also fun, happy, and a little silly. Each of her children and 13 grandchildren knew her repertoire of songs, some that came with memorable facial expressions, like “The Little Green Frog.” She loved our God above all else and she loved her neighbor. She was a doer yet someone who engaged people in daily life casually just to make them smile. She built community wherever she was planted.
In 1992, after 31 years with the Army, Mike and Lynn settled in Sequim, Washington where Mike started a real estate business. Lynn continued to build community, characteristically starting a welcoming committee in her neighborhood. There, she and Mike also threw epic St. Patrick’s Day parties.
In Sequim, Lynn continued her lifelong habit of volunteering and service. Having previously led Red Cross chapters in military postings, she actively supported the Serenity House in Sequim, serving on the board, fund raising, and volunteering her time. She spent over 25 years volunteering with St. Vincent de Paul, directly meeting those in need by lending her ears, hands, and joyful spirit.
Lynn thrived in her marriage with Mike, flourishing in their love, deep friendship, and shared faith. She taught her children’s Catechism and Confirmation classes. More importantly, she gifted her children with an appreciation for the beauty of faith. As a grandmother, she attended all 13 baptisms, even those held overseas.
Lynn beat cancer three times, persevering with strength, humility, and grace. In her last decade, Lynn was in cognitive decline. She accepted her situation with self-deprecation and emotional security, knowing she was loved by Mike, her family, and God. She exuded peaceful confidence in her often-heard quip when something went afoul, “It’s all part of the big plan.”
A funeral Mass will be held on Friday, February 24 at 11:00 a.m.at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, 121 East Maple Street, Sequim, Washington.
Donations may be offered to St. Vincent de Paul, P.O. Box 2114, Sequim, WA 98382; or to Volunteer Hospice Care of Clallam County, 829 East 8th Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
She will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
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