Malcolm Edward Willems
Sep 28, 1943 – Jul 15, 2010
Malcolm Edward Mac Willems
September 28, 1943 – July 15, 2010
Malcolm Edward Willems, known to many as 'Mac,' was born September 28, 1943 in Caripito, Venezuela to missionary parents Isaac Willems and Winona Tinsley Willems.
Shortly thereafter, the family returned to the States, where they lived in Kansas and Illinois while Mac's father completed his education. Eventually they settled on a mission in Vallecitos, New Mexico. Mac's sister, Sue, was born at the mission hospital in nearby Española during these years, and he became a devoted and attentive brother.
In 1953, Mac moved to the town of Ordway, Colorado after his father accepted a pastorate at the Evangelical United Brethren Church, where Mac would meet his future wife, Marilyn, and her family. He spent his teen years in this close-knit farming community. He played flute in the school's marching band, a talented group that proudly represented the town in competitions throughout Colorado.
In 1960, after his junior year of high school, the family relocated to Everett, Washington. Mac graduated from Everett High School in 1961. His mother passed away that summer. During this difficult time, he was much encouraged by his family, the faith and integrity of his friends and mentors in the church, and those he would soon meet in college.
Following high school, Mac attended Seattle Pacific College. He originally intended to study medicine, but instead discovered his passion for French language and literature. While at Seattle Pacific, he sang with the Oratorio Society and served on the yearbook editorial staff. He was also active in the drama department, where he especially enjoyed playing the role of Shylock. He graduated in 1966 with majors in French and history, as well as a minor in English.
On August 19, 1966, he married Marilyn Entenman, a native of Ordway, Colorado, whom he had known since his childhood there. Because Marilyn attended Westmar College in Iowa, the two had a long-distance courtship ending with a proposal atop the Space Needle, with a ring that Mac financed through his summer job driving a grain truck in eastern Washington.
The couple took up residence on lower Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. In September, Mac began his teaching career by commuting to the new French program at Pacific Junior High School in Des Moines, Washington. He chaired the foreign languages department from 1970 to 1979. He also taught English, introducing students to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, one of his favorite authors.
In the summer of 1970, Mac and Marilyn traveled extensively in Europe, returning with slides that he would show to hundreds of students over the next several years. Later that year, they purchased a house and settled permanently in the Kent-Des Moines community, where they raised two children, Kate and Andrew.
While teaching, Mac found time to complete a master's degree in French literature at the University of Washington in 1973.
After more than a decade at Pacific Junior High, Mac transferred to Mount Rainier High School in 1981, where he continued to teach French and English. He taught with energy and scholarship respected by students and faculty alike. He creatively enhanced his classes with any cuisine or media appropriate to the subject matter, as well as a healthy dose of geography. Outside the classroom, he coached award-winning Knowledge Bowl teams.
In 1987, he became the high school's first coordinator of the International Baccalaureate curriculum, which became firmly established under his leadership. He began to teach the I.B. Theory of Knowledge class, enjoying the opportunity to broaden his background in philosophy and science. He was also active in the Northwest International Baccalaureate Association, which highly valued his dedication and expertise. His first concern was always for students and he often tailored the curriculum to their unique circumstances. Not surprisingly, graduating students frequently requested his letters of recommendation.
During these years, Mac was also highly active in his church community, first at West Hill Community Baptist Church in Kent, and the last 20 years at Midway Community Covenant Church in Des Moines. He served as a deacon and an elder and on various committees. He taught all levels of Sunday school, ranging from toddlers to adults. He sang in choirs and quartets. He directed entire Christmas programs. He hosted Bible studies in his home. Most recently he served in a pastoral care capacity as a Stephen Minister.
In 2002, Marilyn, Mac's wife of 36 years, passed away after a long illness, during which he gave faithful care and support.
Mac retired from 38 years of teaching in 2004. In retirement, he traveled extensively as a consultant to new I.B. schools and as an inspector of examination procedures. He combined a love of reading with service and began recording books for the blind at Tape Ministries Northwest in Burien, Washington. His interest in the French countryside of the Tour de France broadened into an avid interest in bicycle racing. He also traveled frequently to spend time with family.
Mac passed away suddenly on July 15, 2010 at the home where he and his family had resided for 40 years. He will be missed by his family, friends and colleagues. Although he is absent from this community, we rejoice that he is present with the Lord Jesus, in whose power and promises he trusted for new life.
Malcolm was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn. He is survived by his daughter, Katherine Heisen Peter of Kent, Washington; son, Andrew Willems Rachel of Boston, Massachusetts; sister, Sue Taylor Craig of Marietta, Georgia; nephew, Matthew Taylor, of Marietta, Georgia; several of his wife's family, the Entenmans of Colorado; one aunt, Hulda Becker, of Chehalis, Washington; and numerous cousins.
A graveside committal service will be held Saturday, July 31, 2010 at 10:00 at:
Bonney-Watson Washington Memorial Park
16445 International Blvd.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 31, 2010 at 1:00 at:
Midway Community Covenant Church
22460 24th Ave. S.
Des Moines, Washington
There will be a closed-casket visitation between 2:00 and 5:00 on Friday, July 30, 2010 at Washington Memorial Park.
Flowers will be provided by:
Washington Park Florist
16445 International Blvd.
Seatac, WA 98118
Memorial donations may be made to:
P.O. Box 9716, Dept. W
Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
Seattle's Union Gospel Mission
P.O. Box 202
Seattle, WA 98111-0202
Tape Ministries Northwest
840 S. 192nd St.
Seattle, WA 98148
This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.