Sarita Jane (Veatch) McCaw

Sarita Jane (Veatch) McCaw

November 11, 1931 — November 6, 2020

Sarita J. McCaw, age 88, of Walla Walla, passed away Friday, Nov 6, 2020, in Seattle WA.

Funeral services and interment are pending. Memorials may be directed to the Pantry Shelf Food Bank of Walla Walla, designated for the Sarita McCaw Toilet Paper Fund.

Sarita was born Nov. 11, 1931, in Colfax, WA, to W. Homer and Gwendolyn (Lowther) Veatch. She attended grade school and high school in Pullman, WA. She attended Washington State College, where she was a member of Kappa Delta sorority, graduating in 1953 with a degree in speech-education. She completed a Masters Degree in Theology from Fuller Seminary. She completed Certified Lay Pastor Training from Eastern Oregon Presbytery, and served as a roving pastor for many small Presbyterian church fellowships in eastern Washington and eastern Oregon.

Sarita married William (Bill) McCaw on August 10, 1952, who predeceased her. They had four children: Mike, Greg, Treda and Kaylene.

Sarita taught Public Speaking, Diction and Articulation, and Listening and Job Communication, through the Walla Walla Community College from March 1969 until her retirement. She began as an instructor at the Washington State Penitentiary, the only woman instructor at that time. In 2001 she was awarded an Outstanding Community Service Award from the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce and Walla Walla Community College.

She was active in the Presbyterian Church, beginning at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Walla Walla, and later at Grace Presbyterian in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. She was one of twelve people honored by the National Presbyterian Church in 1996 as an           “Unsung Hero – Presbyterians Making a Difference in their Communities”.

She was an active 4-H leader for over 40 years. In 2004 she received a diamond award for 40 years as a 4-H Leader. She was a frequent judge at the South Eastern Washington Fair. In 2001 she was selected as a member of the Washington State 4-H Hall of Fame.

Sarita was a founding member of the Grandmothers Roundtable, a group of Grand Mothers who promoted volunteerism and civic engagement. Their catchphrase was “Grandmothers agree to disagree       agreeably”.

She was noted throughout her life for meeting challenges personally. For instance, when she heard from the Pantry Shelf Food Bank in Walla Walla that toilet paper was not considered an essential item, she took on a mission to supply toilet paper to them. She solicited donations not only from her friends and relatives, but also from wholesalers and distributors, resulting in many pallet-loads of toilet paper donations. As the cumulative donations increased, admirers of the project awarded her several titles, and she ended up as the Empress of Toilet Paper, complete with a very showy crown that she wore when fundraising for the project. Her slogan was “Wiping out poverty – one roll at a time!”

Among her many hobbies were reading (She was proud of the 22 bookcases in her home), knitting, baking, and traveling. A favorite quote, from Oliver Wendell Holmes: “A person’s mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimension.”

Survivors include three children: Mike (Janet Westin) of Seattle, WA, Treda (Darrell Massung), of Silverton Or, and Kaylene of Sarasota FL; six grandchildren: Reed (Lindsay) Shingledecker, Ariane Westin-McCaw (Dan Davies), Tatiana Westin-McCaw, Madison Shingledecker, Gwendolyn McCaw and Eleyeh McCaw; and three great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Bill; her son, Greg; her grandson, Alex; and a brother, John.