Floral 13

Wilma (Billie) Sampson

August 1, 1919 ~ June 22, 2023 (age 103) 103 Years Old

Wilma Sampson Obituary

Wilma (Billie) Sampson was born on August 1, 1919. As an adult, she was resolutely self-sufficient, profoundly capable, and active enough to earn the nickname “the energizer bunny.” She was frugal almost to a fault, except for things that really mattered. This included generous support for the education of her children and grandchildren and foreign travel indulgences. Retiring after 40 years as an elementary school teacher and librarian with the Seattle Public Schools, she embraced snow-birding from Seattle, WA to Mesa, AZ until she was 99 years old. Billie had a ridiculously high pain threshold and disdain for self-pity that made her seem indestructible. When she died on June 22, 2023, surrounded by her loving family, she was 40 days short of her 104th birthday.

In all her roles – a mom, grandma, great-grandma, teacher, and fiercely independent woman – she cultivated deep relationships and engaged intentionally. Billie engaged in politics and was always up-to-date on current events.  She was a talented seamstress, a gifted gardener, and a skilled card player.  A pragmatist to her core, she never wallowed in emotion or hardship. Her warm presence and countless acts of support left those around her without any doubt that they were loved and valued.  She set a wonderful example of a life well-lived and will forever be remembered for the myriad of inspiring life lessons she taught through her actions. Billie was deeply loved and will be profoundly missed.

Billie was born in Seattle to William Nicholson Turner and Alta Jensen Turner. She is survived by her children, Kyle (Greg) Gillis and Erick (Barbara) Merklinghaus; her grandchildren, Kristina (Erik) Soballe, Jennifer (George) Graham, Andrew Merklinghaus, and Allison Merklinghaus; and her great-grandchildren, Charlotte, Clara, Brayden, Natalie, and Mari. She is predeceased by her husbands, Frederick Merklinghaus and Vernon Sampson, and her five siblings, Jean Davis, Bob Turner, Doris Cooke, June Dizard, and John Turner.


Donations to the PTA at John Rogers Elementary School, where she taught and her children attended, will continue Billie’s legacy of elevating education, especially for the young. Visit https://tinyurl.com/Donate4Billie, then use the pulldown menu to select "Wilma Sampson Memorial Fund."  Among other services, the funds will be used to support the library, provide teacher discretionary funds, and help families facing emergencies.

In lieu of services, the family will honor Billie's extraordinary life at the family's annual picnic on Camano Island.


- Care Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Services Lake View - 



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