Cover photo for Aimee Carathers's Obituary
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1927 Aimee 2024

Aimee Carathers

January 10, 1927 — March 11, 2024

Aimee Esther Wirkkala Carathers, 97, was welcomed into the arms of Jesus in the early hours of March 11, 2024, in Vancouver, Washington. She was alert and faithful to her Lord and Savior to the very end.

Aimee was born to Finnish Immigrants, and early Naselle settlers, Andrew, and Hilda (Korpela) Wirkkala on January 10, 1927, the fifteenth child in a family of 12 sons and 3 daughters. She graduated from Naselle High School in the class of 1944.

She was active in the Naselle community in her early years, particularly the Naselle Assembly of God Church heading up the Sunday School and Vacation Bible School programs. She also worked as a bookkeeper for Wirkkala Brothers Logging Company, and was favored by all in the area, including being affectionately known as “The Queen of Evergreen Park.”

In August of 1958, she married the love of her life, the very dashing and talented Cecil Carathers, an Evangelist with the “Fox Party”. They were awarded a pastoral position in Newport, WA shortly after the birth of their daughter Linda in October of 1959. Son Jerry was born in July of 1962. They spent 3 ½ years pastoring in Newport before returning to Western Washington to be closer to family.

They moved to Naselle to live with Grandma Wirkkala for a short time before accepting a senior ministry role at a full gospel church located near the banks of Abernathy creek. The church provided housing for the family until they bought their own two-bedroom home on Bunker Hill Rd. This is where the fondest family memories were created, especially after a complete renovation and remodel transforming it into a spacious 4-bedroom two-story home, complete with a Finnish sauna lovingly constructed by Aimee’s beloved brother Edwin.

Later, the family decided to move into the city limits of Longview and were there to experience the epic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in May of 1980. Aimee wasted no time securing a job at FEMA during this time.

In January of 1981, Aimee was overjoyed to welcome her first grandchild Justin Ray Ross when he arrived and then again, with her granddaughter Kristen Lenae in 1983. With the advent of their new role as grandparents, they made the decision to move to Vancouver, WA. She was a doting grandmother who fulfilled that role well by making them delicious meals, buying gifts, reading them the Bible, and even taking them weekly to her church for youth group.

During this time, Aimee worked in Portland for 10 + years as an Administrative Assistant for Van Waters & Rogers while they continued to reside in Vancouver. Cecil passed away in 2008 and Aimee lived independently until 2022 when she needed more assistance.

Aimee always had a Bible on her lap and had memorized great portions of it, frequently including verses in her speech and prayers. She witnessed the joy of the Lord to everyone she came across in her daily activities, including grocery clerks or food servers every chance she had. She continually radiated her love for Jesus.

She was a gifted pianist and played regularly, either the piano or organ, in every church she attended until recent years, and was invited to be the guest speaker at her church on Mother’s Day shortly after Cecil’s passing.

Aimee was the last surviving member of the first generation of our beloved family that extends to numerous nieces and nephews. She prayed for each one, including many children to the fourth generation by name daily.

In November 2023, she lost her beloved grandson, Justin to cancer. She is also predeceased by her parents Andrew and Hilda Wirkkala, husband Cecil and brothers, Arne, Oiva, Howard, Edwin, Lauri, Albert, Hannes, Martin, Fred, Ben, Paul and Urho and sisters, Elizabeth, and Eva.

Aimee is survived by daughter Linda Clay, son-in-law Steve, son Jerry Carathers of Vancouver, WA, granddaughter, Kristen Olson, Kyal her husband, great grandsons, Kase, Koen, Konner, Kaleb and Kruz Olson of Enumclaw, WA, great granddaughter Eleanor Raine Ross, Justin’s partner Tara Minassian of Portland, OR, granddaughter Dr. Sarah Clay-Shields, Gabe her husband, great grandson Collin Shields of Gresham. OR, granddaughter Jillene Clay, great granddaughters Aurora and Nina Clay of Gresham, OR, Brandon Clay, Yoshimi his wife, Kyler and Lily of Frisco, TX, great grandson Devon Shields, Kayla his wife, great-great granddaughter Taylor Shields and great-great Grandson soon-to-be arriving Bennett Shields of Gresham, OR.

Funeral services will be held at the Naselle Assembly of God Church, 278 Knappton Rd. Naselle, WA on Sunday April 14th at 3:00 pm.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Aimee Carathers, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Pacific time)

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