Florence Pressentin

Florence Marie (Gilbert) Pressentin, retired United States postmaster and 50-year resident of the Skagit Valley, died on Jan. 22, 2011, in Seattle, Wash., just two weeks short of her 90th birthday.

Florence was born to Theodore F. and Marie (Geng) Gilbert on Feb. 6, 1921, in Mineral, Washington. Florence grew up in Chehalis, Wash., and graduated from Chehalis High School in 1939. She attended Seattle University and graduated with a BSN in Nursing in 1947.

In 1948 she married Martin A. Pressentin, son of Edward V. and Elizabeth (Martin) Pressentin, two prominent Upper Skagit Valley pioneer families. They settled in Rockport to run the family store, where they built a home and raised their three daughters: Denise, Lea, and Marce.

Florence was a devoted daughter, a cherished wife, and a loving mother. She served the community in various roles as a nurse, a U.S. postmaster in both Rockport and Concrete, a president of the San Juan Girl Scout Council, a co-founder of Aero-Skagit Emergency Services, and a dedicated volunteer and parishioner of St. Catherine’s Mission Catholic Church.

As a Registered Nurse, she worked at Providence Hospital in Seattle, United General Hospital in Sedro-Woolley, and at the Concrete Clinic.  Logging accidents and emergency health care situations found their way to Florence’s doorstep, as well as the garden variety scrapes and cuts of banged up kids who found her at the post office.

Florence worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 27 years beginning in Rockport in 1962 as a postal clerk. She served a total of 23 years as a U.S. postmaster, with 14 years in Rockport from 1966 to 1980, then 9 years in Concrete where she retired in 1989 at age 68. She loved working in the heart center of both communities and made lasting friendships, not only in the community, but also with staff and other postmasters.

Florence was an advocate for young girls and women, encouraging them to explore and follow their dreams.  She started the Girls Scouts in Rockport, helped grow the organization in the valley, and served as president of the San Juan Girl Scout Council. She was a role model to women and was proud that through her mentoring, three women moved ahead in their careers to become U.S. postmasters.

Florence and the late William G. Monzingo, M.D. co-founded Aero-Skagit Emergency services in 1974, answering the Upper Valley’s need for emergency care. Aero-Skagit Emergency Services is flourishing as a vital emergency resource for the Upper Skagit Community.

Her Catholic faith and St. Catherine’s Mission were of paramount importance to her. She was actively involved in the life of St. Catherine’s as a parishioner, volunteer, and leader. She collaborated with the building and design of the CCD Center in Concrete, and was instrumental in saving its stately pine tree. She served as Altar Society President and was in charge of catered events at St. Catherine’s CCD Center.

Florence was a vibrant beauty with an engaging smile that she shared easily with everyone.  With her style, sharp intellect, and quick wit, she left a lasting impression with those she met. She was a force to be reckoned with who exuded confidence and charisma with a passion and energy for life.

Through her leadership, hard work, and sharing of her talents, Florence contributed to the betterment of life in the Upper Skagit Valley. Her legacy and footprint in the Upper Skagit Valley continues to be felt.

Florence is survived by daughters Denise von Pressentin, Seattle, Wash.; Lea von Pressentin, Seattle, Wash.; and Marce von Pressentin, Bow, Wash.; her “kissing cousin” Richard Gilbert, Marysville, Wash.; her cousin, Rene DelRe, Kellogg, Id.; and nieces, nephews, cousins, sisters-in-law, and treasured friends. She will be greatly missed.

Florence was preceded in death by her parents Ted and Marie Gilbert; her husband, Martin Pressentin; and her sister, Elizabeth (Betty) Botch.

A Rosary Service was said at 7 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 4, 2011, at Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Visitation at Lemley Chapel was available during that week and at the Rosary.

Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. on Sat., Feb. 5, 2011, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 719 Ferry Street, Sedro-Woolley, Washington.
A Celebration of Life Luncheon Reception followed the Mass in the Parish Hall. Burial at the Concrete Forest Park Cemetery, Concrete, Wash., followed the luncheon at 3 p.m.

Memorials may be given in her honor to Aero Skagit Emergency Services, Inc., P.O. Box 705, Concrete, WA 98273; St. Catherine’s Mission Catholic Church, 719 Ferry St., Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284; Seattle University School of Nursing, 901 12th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122; or a charity of your choice.

Arrangements and Services under the direction of Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Please share your memories of Florence and sign the online guestbook at www.lemleychapel.com.


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