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Friday, July 15, 2011

Center for Childhood Cancer Research OPENS!

This week, on Wednesday evening, my mother and I met Charlotte at the beautiful Hyatt at Olive 8 hotel to join in the celebration of the opening of
Seattle Children's Hospital's new Center for Childhood Cancer Research, which will be led by Dr. Michael Jensen. We listened to brief speeches, and took a tour of the new laboratory facility. If you live in the Seattle area, I encourage you to look up the center, or schedule a tour. It is a light, bright, exciting space, where dreams of HOPE are going to be translated scientifically into CURES. If you are looking for a cause, a place to lend your voice, or a charity to support, please consider the Center for Childhood Cancer Research.

The income from the
Katie Gerstenberger Endowment
for Cancer Research
supports this center and its work.
As of now, the principal in Katie's endowment is
This is due to the generosity of Katie's family and friends, and
we thank you.
Our aim is to continue to support its growth, and to use the income to help researchers to find cures, so that other families do not have to watch their children suffer or die from cancer!

Please click on the links to read more about this event, and the center itself,
here, here, here and here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We want to share with you our gratitude to the Merritt family.
Because of Charlotte's thoughtfulness in naming the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment for Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Hospital in Fred's obituary, 22 new donations have been received thus far.

Along with our sadness over Fred's passing, we feel enormous gratitude for his and Charlotte's kindness and generosity.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Our Dear Friend, Fred Merritt

Our family received hard news this week. Our dear friend, Fred Merritt, passed away. Fred was a wonderful friend and a dear man, and we will miss him terribly. You can learn more about his many accomplishments HERE.

Fred and my father met in elementary school. Fred and his beautiful wife, Charlotte, fell in love at the University of Washington, and are two of my parents' dearest friends. We came to know them when our children were in elementary school, and I will give you a few examples of why I love them both so much.
When David had to write a report in the 4th grade, he chose the Ford Motor Company as his topic. Fred was retired from Ford, so David asked if he could interview Fred about it. Fred not only generously took time to answer David's questions, he gave him photographs and interesting historical information. In addition to that, when the day arrived for David's presentation of the report, Fred & Charlotte took the ferry over from Seattle and sat in the audience in David's elementary school classroom to support him. How precious is that?
Dad & Fred in the desert
Fred and Charlotte have a home near my parents' place in the desert. It is always fun to get together with them for dinner or a visit. They are so good with children, and were very kind to ours. I will always remember the first time they invited us to their home so that the children could enjoy swimming in a different pool.
David & Katie in the pool at TVC
And the time we went to dinner at Arnold Palmer's resturant, with Charlotte getting a kick out of David's questions about why we weren't using the valet parking. Or the time when they invited us to their beautiful club - and David brought a remote-control car along, to drive in the parking lot with the other fancy motors.

Fred & Charlotte are fun, intelligent, warm and adventurous. They have taken some wonderful guided trips with my parents and other friends. Some of their best stories come from the Stan Boreson Tours that they took together. We loved having them to our house for visits, sharing dinner at Burrata Bistro or a clam-feed on our deck, and they always appreciated a gift of lefse from our local Norwegian bakery (Charlotte is of Norwegian heritage).

Fred has a very dry sense of humor. He and my father are hilarious together, because my dad is theatrical and Fred is understated. Fred has a way of sputtering, especially in response to my father's more dramatic story-telling. We loved hearing Fred's gentle rumblings as he teased my dad. "Unbelievable!" was often all he had to say, but it was the way he said it that made it work.
Dad & Fred
Fred had some hilarious sayings. One of our favorites - and the most-quoted in our household - is, "It's not going well." He would say it slowly, quietly and with gentle sarcasm when things were getting well out of hand.

Fred was a hugger and kisser whenever we would get together. I will miss his loving greetings. He was always perfectly dressed and groomed, a very dapper and handsome man. He was a Marine who had been wounded three times in World War II, and still had his helmet with the hole in it. He was modest, but when we asked to see the helmet (and his Purple Heart medal), he showed them to us. It is impressive, as is his service record.

Fred and Charlotte came to the hospital to visit us when Katie was sick, and brought a book for her. They have been the most loyal, thoughtful, affectionate and sympathetic friends to my parents, coming all the way from Seattle to attend Katie's memorial service. They have encouraged us and supported our efforts in Katie's Endowment for Cancer Research. They have been kind, generous, always interested in David and in us. They are like extended family...and I feel as if my uncle has passed away.

Charlotte has asked that donations in Fred's memory go to either the Ryther Child Center or the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment for Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Hospital. We are overwhelmed with gratitude to her for thinking of the endowment, particularly at this painful time. Please remember our dear friend Fred and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Article in EHL Insurance's Newsletter about Katie's Endowment

EHL Insurance, our family's long-time insurance provider, has published an article in their newsletter about the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment for Cancer Research and Katie's Comforters Guild. You can read it HERE.
Thank you, EHL Insurance!