Obituary: JoAnn Faye (Walstrom) Galbraith


JoAnn Faye (Walstrom) Galbraith

February 8, 1936 – August 7, 2023

JoAnn Faye (Walstrom) Galbraith was born February 8, 1936, in Bellingham to Ernest and Winnifred (Roberts) Walstrom.

JoAnn (Jo) graduated in 1954 from Bellingham High school. She met her then-future husband, Donald Harvey “Mike” Galbraith, while working at a local vegetable packing plant, and was affectionately known as the “Pea Queen.”

Jo and Mike were married August 26, 1955, and moved to Pullman, WA to attend Washington State College where Mike majored in pharmacy (Go Cougs!). Jo worked to help support their household while Mike finished his education. Upon graduation, Mike began employment at Aubert’s Pharmacy in Bellingham, and in 1956 their first son, Steven Mikel was born.

In 1959, Mike, along with partners John Aubert and Verle Jones purchased Blaine Drug (later Blaine Pharmacy) and the family moved to Blaine. Their second son, Mark Patrick was born July 22, 1959. Daughter Marijo Ellen was born August 6, 1967. Mike and JoAnn settled into their new life in Blaine, where they continued to live up to the day of their respective graduations into life eternal in the hope of our Lord Jesus the Christ.

Jo was the heartbeat of our home.  She was many things: devoted wife, mother, homemaker, cook and baker extraordinaire (her roast turkey and duck dinners and cinnamon caramel rolls were to die for!).

A couple words that encapsulate who Jo was include “caregiver” and “servant.” She was very active in the Blaine community and Lutheran congregations she and her family were part of, as a Cub Scout den-mother, Hospice volunteer, Sunday school, teacher, lay minister. Jo and Mike hosted youth group gatherings and Bible studies in their home, and for years was front and center in helping prepare so many meals at church for weddings, funerals, and other occasions. Although she never sought recognition, she was chosen Whatcom County volunteer of the month for her work with Hospice. She and Mike were tireless and hospitable supporters of all the pastors that served in the congregations they were part of. Jo never hesitated to prepare and take a hot meal to someone who needed it. She and her family hosted exchange students from many countries and spent hours tutoring all of them in English as a self-taught tutor.

Jo came into her faith in Jesus as her Savior, as neighbors down the street from her home in Fairhaven would invite her to attend church and Sunday school with them. She kept going, and when she was a student at Washington State University, she was baptized in a Presbyterian Church at the age of 19. Her husband Mike followed a similar path into his faith in Christ. Jo and Mike truly had an appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a Christian and in the Lutheran tradition, a deep understanding of Jesus Christ and his mission, and the mission of the Christian Church everywhere. She insisted that her congregations and other Christian mission and service organizations she believed in were faithful recipients of their offerings.

Jo graduated peacefully into life eternal Monday morning, August 7, 2023. Hers was a life long and well lived. She is preceded in death by her parents, Ernest and Winnifred Walstrom, her brother, Thomas Arvid Walstrom, her husband, Donald Harvey “Mike“ Galbraith, and her son (and Mark’s identical twin brother) Donald Harvey Galbraith Jr.

She is survived by sons Steve (Kristi) Galbraith and Mark Galbraith, daughter Marijo Galbraith, grandchildren Andrew (Dan) Galbraith, Bryan (Danielle) Galbraith, Melissa (Dan) Healey, Naomi Galbraith, Monica Galbraith, and great grandchildren Daisy Galbraith, Iris Galbraith, and Rosalyn Healey, Sister Susie Berker, sisters-in-law Mary Lue Walstrom and Ellen (Bill) Wiegand, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life for Jo will be held Saturday, August 26, 2023 at Grace Lutheran Church in Blaine, Washington at 1 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Grace Lutheran Church in Blaine or Stafholt Cascadia.  The family would like to recognize the staff at Stafholt Cascadia in Blaine for the exceptional and loving care given to Jo in her final days.