In Loving Memory of Muriel Gehrman ’59

Muriel Gehrman Muriel Fay (Morgan) Gehrman passed away in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 3, 2018, from Alzheimer’s. Once in awhile, you run into someone who changes lives for the better wherever they go. Muriel was one of those people. Maybe it was partly because she grew up in paradise surrounded by Aloha. Muriel was born on Oct. 24, 1937, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was the youngest of four children. She attended grade school in Wahiawa, Hawaii, and then entered the eighth grade at Kamehamea Schools – a school for children of Hawaiian ancestry. She excelled as a student, graduating with honors in the class of 1955 and received numerous prestigious scholarships to continue her education. She then attended Ripon College in Wisconsin for two years prior to graduating with honors from the University of Wisconsin, where she was a member of the Tri-Delta Sorority. In the fall of 1959, she started teaching social studies at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Ore. While there, she met her husband Ted. They were married on Dec. 24 of that year and were married for nearly 58 years.

In June of 1961, Muriel joined Ted in Germany, where he was teaching. This would prove to be the first of many overseas locations that Ted and Muriel would call home. Before leaving Germany, Muriel taught at Wuerzburg American High School and then traveled to Ethiopia for a teaching position. In 1966, they moved back to the United States, where Muriel finished her master’s degree at the University of Massachusetts and taught at Amherst High School. In 1970, their daughter, Tiare, was born. Muriel, Ted and Tiare broadened their international horizons, living in places like Ecuador, Singapore, and Tanzania, where Ted worked as an administrator for International Schools. After serving overseas, they finally settled back into Klamath Falls, Ore., where Muriel ran a fitness business for a few years before finishing up her career as a teacher at Brixner Junior High. Throughout Muriel’s many years of service, here are just a few words directly from some of those she has touched: “Muriel was a wise, kind and beautiful woman. I remember her love of flowers, gardening, fashion, children, and education. She always looked stunning and had a smile and kind word for everyone she encountered. The world is a better place from her loving and generous influence. I am glad she is at peace and can once again hula with delicate grace.”

“She was kind to me and so many of us in high school. I felt blessed to have known her.” “She will go down in history as one of my very favorite teachers and human beings. She did amazing things on this earth and impacted hundreds of lives.” “She was a light in my junior high life; a good soul for sure.” “The best teacher. I was blessed to have known her.” “She was so special to so many people. She touched the lives of so many young people as a teacher and as a kind, loving person. She will be greatly missed.” “I am so thankful that I had the privilege to be a small part of her wonderful and fulfilling life.” “It is difficult to express our collective pain for the loss of our special Muriel. She truly is a unique object of our shared sorrows. Enough of that, says she. Pining for her is the last activity she wants us to engage in. Always a smile on her face, a friend to all, level in fair weather or inclement, almost as gregarious as her spouse, always with a quick complement, graceful in her comportment and stern when righting perceived wrongs. She is bound for canonization. Alas, she takes from me one of my most prized possessions…she takes from me my indomitable doubles partner. Ah, how we love my partner.” “How blessed I am to have a woman in my life who has always been my biggest cheerleader. She has shown up for me and my family countless times. She is a woman of principle and has lived her life in such a way that her core values have always been her compass. Mama has taught me to be kind to all, give sincere compliments, celebrate others successes and scatter sunshine wherever you go. She was driven to do her best and gave 100 percent plus to her family and her students.”

Muriel is survived by her husband Ted, daughter Tiare Michele Gehrman Schlenker, son-in-law Jeff Schlenker, grandchildren Kiana, Kaikea, Kalea, and Makai, and siblings Ralph Morgan and Doris (Morgan) Timeus. She was preceded in death by her mother Carol (Bowers) Morgan and father Julian Monserat Ahu Morgan, and sister Barbara (Morgan) Hasegawa. There will be a Hawaiian luau celebration of Muriel’s life in Spokane, Wash., on July 13. Please watch for more information.