Ocean Shores Woof-a-Thon founder Wilma Spike was remembered fondly by friends and family for her determined civic activism and love for animals after she died last week in her ocean-view Ocean Shores home.
Active in many local city issues, Spike is most known for her inspiration and work to create the annual Ocean Shores animal welfare benefit, which now is carried on by other volunteers after Spike experienced health issues several years ago.
Spike died Sept. 11 after collapsing and being taken to the hospital, where it was determined she suffered a ruptured aorta, according to an email account from friend Marlene Penry: “She was at home with her son Patrick at the time she collapsed. She had been visiting with him in Oregon last week and he drove her home Sunday.”
Spike was a resident of the Dreamscape complex near the North Jetty. A regular visitor to Ocean Shores for decades, She was one of the first to move into the Dreamscape condominiums in 2007, and she served as board chair and chair of building and grounds for years for the facility.
Patrick Spike wrote the following tribute to his mother on her Facebook page: “If there is a heaven, then my mother was met yesterday by her mother, her sister, all the dogs she’s rescued and loved over the years and more. The air is clear and warm, her breathing is full and unlabored, the sun is shining on her face, there’s plenty of Dots and Milk Duds, and she’s looking down now on all her friends and family just waiting for happy hour to raise her glass. I love you mom. Rest peacefully.”
A memorial gathering will be at noon on Sunday Sept. 30 at the Ocean Shores Lion’s Club, 832 Ocean Shores Blvd. NW.
In 2017, Spike stepped down as president of the Woof-a-Thon’s board after guiding the popular event through its first five years, raising and donating more than $60,000 for animal-related charities in Grays Harbor. Spike started the event in Ocean Shores after participating for 13 years in the Tacoma Dog-a-Thon.
Wilma was born in Ashford, WA, to William and Winnefred Gemmel, who preceded her in death. Her son Patrick resides in Scappoose, OR. She has a sister, Gerri Burnett of Covington, WA, and sister Winnefred Heater also preceded her in death.
As for her dogs, the family included the following: Joker, Cappie, Taffy, Chelsea, Lulu, Perkins, Pearl (OS Woofathon mascot and logo dog), and Rosie (all deceased except Rosie now living with sister Gerri).
Other projects Wilma Spike was involved with locally included coordinated a memorial effort for an infant that was found dead in Ocean Shores; helping to protect the Weatherwax as a preserve and protected forest within the city; spearheading the effort to rent a billboard on State Route 109 promoting Ocean Shores.
She also worked on the campaigns to elect Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler and was a member of the Women Helping Women organization.
Donations can be made in honor of Wilma Spike to Ocean Shores Woof-a-thon, PO Box 1664, Ocean Shores, WA 98569, or via the website www.oceanshoreswoofathon.org