Longtime West Seattle resident Ann Kimberly Dirks died peacefully at a local senior care facility on Jan. 3 She was 82.
The mother of five boys, Ann was known for her spirited, outgoing personality and quick humor that helped her develop deep and lasting connections with neighbors, co-workers, friends, and within her large extended family. Born in Bellingham, Ann moved with her parents, Clair and Alta Smith, to West Seattle as a child.
Ann was a 1956 graduate of West Seattle High School and went on to attend Washington State College in Pullman for two years. She married Martin (Marty) Dirks at the West Seattle Baptist Church on October 16, 1959. Marty took an engineering job in New Jersey where their identical twin sons Greg and Brian were born, but the couple missed their family and friends in Washington so much that they made the cross-country trip back home several months later in their compact sedan.
Ann and Marty had three more sons: John, Stephen and Tom. Ann’s life became a hubbub of cross-neighborhood gatherings, Scouts, household duties and shepherding her boys to their various activities. In the 1960s, Ann and Marty built a two-bedroom cabin on Camano Island where the family spent most summer weekends and vacation time, even living there for a year. Ann also enjoyed numerous family camping and boating trips, along with family travels throughout the West Coast.
As her sons grew older Ann took a job with the West Seattle Herald, where she typed up community news items and classified advertisements and greeted customers. While at the Herald she served as volunteer coordinator for the West Side Story, the definitive book about West Seattle published in 1987, supervising a cadre of people who helped with its production and distribution.
Ann and Marty also became active volunteers in the Southwest Seattle chapter of Ryther, an organization that provides mental health and substance use services to youth. In their retirement years Ann and Marty split time between homes in West Seattle and Camano Island. They also took numerous cruises, traveled around the world, and looked forward to their annual ski trip with family and friends to McCall, Idaho. Ann was an avid reader, loved taking long walks on the beach and telling stories to her grandchildren.
In addition to Marty and their five sons, all of whom live in the greater Seattle area, Ann is survived by nine grandchildren, a step-grandson and two great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her sister Jane. Her brother, Stuart Smith, lives in Gresham, Oregon.
An online memorial service is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 – please contact RememberingAnn@utsservices.net to be included. Ann will be interred near her parents and other family at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Ferndale. In lieu of flowers, the family suggest remembrances in her name to Ryther or to the West Seattle Food Bank.
Please share memories of Ann on the tribute wall, located above.
The family would like to acknowledge the caregivers and staff at Aegis Living of West Seattle for their tremendous care and support of Ann during her final months.