In loving memory of Metta and Phillip Wickstrom


Metta E. Wickstrom (nee Kossler) was born in Denver, Colorado, on Aug. 7, 1931, and passed away Feb. 4, 2024, at home in Bothell, Washington. 

Phillip R. Wickstrom was born in Boulder, Colorado, March 20, 1931, and also passed away at home Feb. 13, 2024, just nine days after Metta. 

High school sweethearts and married over 71 years, Phillip and Metta had deep roots in the Boulder area. Phillip served in the Coast Guard for three years. Both graduated from the University of Colorado. Metta worked her way through pharmacy school, and Phillip graduated in English literature. He was always quick to credit the GI Bill for the financial opportunity to go to college. 

After graduation in 1957, they moved with their son, Galen, to Centralia, Washington, where Phillip took a teaching position at Centralia High School. In 1961, he became a professor of English and drama at Centralia College and during summers completed his master’s degree from the University of Colorado. Considering the stage his favorite classroom, Phillip had a long, memorable career at Centralia College and retired in 1991. 

A trailblazer for women in the sciences and working in a men’s profession, Metta began her pharmacy career in Centralia at Caldwell Drugstore and later moved to Gene Smith Pharmacy, finally retiring in 1996. Through it all, she played bridge, took up many types of arts and crafts, sewed play costumes, baked perfect treats and was never seen watching TV without a knitting project in her lap, among many other activities and interests. 

They had many rich friendships and deep ties in the Centralia community. They were co-founders of the Evergreen Playhouse in 1959, which is still thriving in 2024, and were constant contributors to the arts and education scene in Centralia for many decades. 

In 2015, they moved from Centralia to Bothell, Washington, to enjoy being closer to their three children, Galen (Jane), Thor (Vivian) and Lisa (Dan), who now survive them. They are also survived by grandchildren Kirsten, James, Erik, Emma and Grant; step-grandchildren Peter, Kim and Nicole; great-granddaughter Isla and step-great-granddaughters Ella and Sophie. 

Their lives are best measured by the number of beloved friends, colleagues, collaborators and students who remember them with admiration and gratitude. 

Memorial plans are yet to be scheduled. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to The Evergreen Playhouse in their honor: 226 W. Center St., Centralia, WA 98531.