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Ida WittchenMarch 17, 1914 ~ February 7, 2017 (age 102)
Aged 102. Our beloved Mother, Grandmother, and Great-grandmother, Ida Wittchen, passed away peacefully on February 7th, 2017, at her home in Normandy Park, WA.
Ida was born in Munich, Germany and spent much of her early childhood with her grandmother and grandfather. After her birth, her grandmother went to the hospital and picked her up without the knowledge of the staff. When the doctor called her, she told him that she would take care of little Ida at home and he should worry about her daughter instead.
Ida married before WWII and lost her home twice to bombings, once at the beginning of the war and again towards the end. After the war, she went to work for the Americans, starting as a waitress in the mess hall and within six weeks she was managing the German wait staff. It was there that she met a consul general who told her, "Ida, we need people like you in the US." She took him at this word and in 1949 booked passage to New York, setting out on her own. He offered another piece of advice saying, "When you go for a job interview, just tell them you can do it. They'll figure out soon enough if you can or can't." She took those words to heart.
Ida spent a number of years crisscrossing the US for various jobs in New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. She struggled with finding work in LA and ended up as a waitress at the famed Schwab's Drugstore. It was the only job she was ever fired from. Her broken English was hard to understand through the microphones into the kitchen and orders kept coming out wrong. Back to New York she went, eventually working as the food buyer for the Red Coach Grill, an elegant restaurant bordering Central Park.
In 1953, her boss from New York moved to Seattle and had her follow. She worked for the Bon Marche as the food buyer for the restaurants. She had her own home built with an FHA mortgage that was not available to single women without a man co-signing, but Ida made it happen. It was around that time that she met Bill Wittchen, a German brick-layer and contractor in Normandy Park. They married in 1955 and were blessed with their only daughter, Craoline, late in life. Her husband preceded her in death in 1970.
Ida spent many years on the board of directors of the German Retirement Home and she worked tirelessly on fund-raising for the home that was eventually built in Juanita.
Even though Ida had many interests in life from gardening to travelling, she was above all else, an amazing wife, mother, and grandmother. She definitely lived her life for her family. She spent the last seventeen years living with her daughter and son-in-law. A day didn't pass that she didn't have a smile on her face and a heart full of love.
She leaves behind her daughter, Caroline and son-in-law Erich, her granddaughter whom she adored, Nicole Dunham and husband Gregor along with her great-grandchildren, James and Greta who brought so many loving smiles to her face in the last years of her life.
These are just a few of the stories and memories that made Ida so special to her family. She will be dearly missed, but her examples of unconditional love, perseverance, strong work ethic, and overall joy in life will live on with her daughter, granddaughter, and her great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Ida's life is planned for Sunday, March 12th, 2-5pm at her home at 275 SW 194th Pl, Normandy Park, WA 98166. If you would like to make a donation to a charity in Ida's name, she requested they be made to the German Retirement Home (http://gardensatjuanitabay.com/).
German Retirement Home
11851 97th Avenue NE, Kirkland WA 98034