Louise Jane (Strosnider) McKay passed away March 1, 2018, surrounded by her family. She was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer in 2016 and fought it until she died. The family is grateful to Dr. Elizabeth Grosen and her staff at Cancer Care Northwest, and Hospice of Spokane particularly, Anna, for the care they gave Louise.
Louise was born in Dover, Idaho Jan. 25, 1923. She graduated from North Central High School in June 1940. She enrolled in Eastern Washington College of Education and met her future husband, Tom McKay, who drove a commuter car for his fellow students. Tom said he knew things were serious when she went from the back seat to the front seat next to him. After her freshman year at EWCE, they married on Aug. 17, 1941, and had daughter, Colleen, in 1944. Tom was drafted into the infantry and wounded in Okinawa on June 9, 1945.
Louise and Tom’s romance was memorialized in Cindy Hval's War Bonds (2015). After the war, Louise, Tom and Colleen moved to a 920 acre ranch in Ferry County near Curlew where they farmed, logged and sawmilled in partnership with Louise’s father, Carl. Nancy, Tom and Christie were born during their time at Curlew. The family moved to Cheney in 1955 where Louise finished her BA in Education degree and Tom received his master’s degree. In 1958, the family moved to Omak where Louise taught third grade and Tom taught sixth grade. While in Omak, Louise was active in the Okanogan County Democrats, American Association of University Women and the Okanogan County Historical Society.
After retiring from teaching, Louise and Tom moved back to Curlew in 1981, where Tom built her a beautiful home from cedar logs he cut down and sawmilled on his one-man-sawmill, with Louise helping the whole time. They were involved in the renovation of the historic Ansorge Hotel in Curlew, and spent many hours volunteering and giving tours of the hotel. Louise and Tom enjoyed traveling, including trips to England and British Columbia with their dear friends, Bruce and Merilynn Wilson. They traveled to Scotland and Ireland with family members and each year enjoyed a trip to Kauai. Louise spent 10 days in Kauai in February 2018, just three weeks before she passed away.
Louise loved music and played piano from an early age. She even took piano lessons when she was 90 years old. She loved the opera and symphony. One of her greatest joys was listening to her son, Tom, play guitar. Louise treated her family to Mozart on a Summer’s Eve in Manito Park each summer. She also enjoyed reading and was active in a book group in Curlew. Louise loved the birds and was always a bird watcher (and feeder.)
After her husband Tom died, Louise moved into the Orchard Crest Retirement Center in Spokane Valley where she met fellow North Central High School graduate, Harold Smart, who became her good friend.
Louise loved to play Scrabble which she played with Nancy during her many hospital procedures, and most recently beat Colleen and Nancy several times in Kauai.
Louise is survived by her daughters, Colleen McKay (Ken Izutsu) and Nancy McKay (Kent Richardson); her son, Tom (Loretta) McKay; and five grandchildren, Tom Amend, Kellie Cardwell, Kerrie Cardwell, John McKay and Michael McKay. She was preceded by her daughter, Christie McKay Cardwell, in 1991; and her brother, Don Strosnider, in 2004.
At Louise’s request no service will be held. Donations may be made in her memory to the Kettle River History Club, PO Box 392, Curlew, WA 99118; Mozart on a Summer’s Eve (checks payable to Connoisseur Concerts), West 315 Mission, Spokane, WA 99201-2325; or Hospice of Spokane, 121 S. Arthur, PO Box 2215, Spokane, WA 99210-2215.