PULLMAN, Wash. – Genevieve L. “Gen” DeVleming, 91, longtime resident of Pullman and an employee of WSU Pullman for 32 years, passed away peacefully Aug. 22, 2017, at Bishop Place in Pullman. A memorial service was held at Trinity Lutheran Church.
DeVleming was born at home on April 25, 1926, in Leavenworth, Wash., the oldest of three daughters born to Paul and Betty (Hardman) Lowery. When she was five, her family moved to Wenatchee, where she completed her schooling, graduating from Wenatchee High School with the class of 1944 as the salutatorian. While in school, she was the editor of the high school yearbook and was also president of the Hi U Girls’ Pep Club.
After graduating high school, Gen attended Washington State College in Pullman, which was made possible through a state scholarship. It was unconventional for women to attend college in that era but, in the fall of 1944, she boarded a train for Pullman with $300 she had earned picking cherries and doing office work, bound and determined to break social convention.
Gen was a lifelong learner and education was one of her passions. She was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Mortar Board Honors Society and served as a national foundation trustee for six years. Gen was awarded the Distinguished Lifetime Mortar Board Award in 2005 for her service to the organization.
She lived in Community Hall for her freshman and sophomore years at WSC and eventually pledged with the Tri-Delta sorority, serving on the homecoming committee. It was through that committee that Gen met a young man named Bob DeVleming, also a junior at WSC, and they were married on Sept. 3, 1948, in Pullman. The young couple remained in Pullman for an additional year for Bob to finish his degree before moving in 1949 to Ritzville where he had accepted a teaching position. Over the next decade, Gen and Bob moved around the Pacific Northwest until returning to Pullman in 1959 where Bob established his optometric practice.
On Sept. 1, 1959, the same day that Washington State College officially became Washington State University, Gen began working for President Clement French as his executive assistant. Gen served the university in that capacity for 32 years under four WSU presidents – French, Wallis Beasley (acting-president), Glenn Terrell and Sam Smith. She retired from WSU in 1991, the same time that Bob sold his optometry practice to his son Jim.
In retirement, Gen was very active in serving her community. She served on many boards and committees over the years including the United Way, Pullman Community Foundation, Pullman School District Facilities Committee and the Community Action Center Major Gifts Committee. Gen was also an active member in Trinity Lutheran Church, the PEO Sisterhood as well as the Pullman Chamber of Commerce Artesians.
In addition to being very avid bowlers, Gen and Bob also enjoyed traveling, visiting Maui and Cabo quite frequently. After Bob passed away, Gen traveled with her son John to Ireland to visit her ancestral homeland. This would be a trip she would treasure for the rest of her life. She always enjoyed spending time with her family, either in Pullman or at the family cabin on Hayden Lake. She was a truly remarkable and inspiring woman. Those who knew her were forever changed by her loving presence. She will be greatly missed.
Gen is survived by her children, John (Kathleen) DeVleming of Henderson, Nev.; Robert (Lynn) DeVleming of Clarkston, Wash.; Jim (Cathy) DeVleming of Pullman and Nancy (Shane) Bateman of Woodinville, Wash.; 13 grandchildren and their spouses Jill (Quinten), Joseph, Kathryn, Elizabeth, William, Kristin (Dan), Jacob, Sarah, Robert, Tyler, Jason, Joyce and Bryce.
DeVleming was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Bob DeVleming, her parents and two sisters.
Memorial contributions in Gen’s honor are suggested to the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org, or to one of the many community causes that were so very near and dear to Gen’s heart.