Christine “Chris” Silves left this earth on March 30, 2023 surrounded by her beloved family and the beauty of the picturesque Skagit Valley and Mount Baker that brought her such joy. Just shy of her 75th birthday, Chris was born and raised on Queen Anne in Seattle to Fred McClintock and Bernie (Lindell) Duthie on April 28, 1948. At the age of 10, she decided that she would be a schoolteacher. Little did she know the journey that decision would take her on and the lives she would touch.
Hers is a story of perseverance and determination. After dropping out of high school, she completed her GED at Edison Technical School in Seattle and then began her pursuit of beating the odds by earning a teaching degree. That led her to Skagit Valley College where she would meet the love of her life, William “Wild Bill” Silves. Chris’ pursuit of becoming a teacher was paused as she and Bill welcomed their daughter Jennifer and son Aaron into this world. Even before she became a teacher, she would touch the lives of those who knew her as mentor and leader for Blue Birds, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Rainbow Girls.
When she returned to school, she completed her Associates of Arts degree at Skagit Valley College before going on to Western Washington University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a minor in Art Education graduating with honors. A short time later Chris would return to school and earn a Master’s in Education from Seattle Pacific University.
Chris would go on to teach for over 25 years in the Mount Vernon School District at both Lincoln Elementary School in the Slingerland Program and Centennial Elementary Schools. During these years, she became known for sharing her love of reading, art, and music with her students, empowering, and helping each student find their own potential.
Chris and Bill’s family would grow again when it welcomed Andre Kimball (Jennifer’s Husband) and Alicia (Goodin) Silves (Aaron’s wife) into the family. And then the greatest role of Chris’s life would begin, Grandma to Aaron and Alicia’s four children: Hannah, Dayton, McKinzie, and Kalie. She passes along her love of art, music, and adventure to each of them and always celebrated their unique and special gifts and talents.
As Chris would often say, “if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” It wasn’t uncommon to find Chris advocating for those without a voice or giving back to the community. From fighting against a nuclear power plant coming to Skagit County in the 1970’s to being active in the Democratic Party and being a founding board member of the Central Skagit Partial County Library Board, Chris was always making sure that the next generation would have a better world to call home.
Chris was a lifelong learner and avid reader, connecting with the world through travel and friendship. Always one to find joy and happiness in the world, her friendships in the Swan Road Book Club, attending the Seattle Symphony, and traveling the US and World for Softball with Bill would always be a highlight for her. Chris’ open door both in her classroom and her home made her approachable. She always had an extra plate on the dinner table, a party after every softball tournament, an ear to listen and a hug to give.
Chris was one of a kind and will be missed by many. Make her proud and continue her belief of the good and love in the world by helping everyone on their journey. Lift each other up and make the world a better place for the next generation.
The family requests those who wish to honor Chris, to donate in lieu of flowers, to:
Children’s Programs at Friends of the Central Skagit Library – 110 West State Street, Sedro Woolley, WA 98284;
Or another program in your area that supports and empowers children through the music, arts, and reading.
A celebration of Chris Silves’ Life will be held on Sunday, April 30, 2023 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Stepping Stones Garden, 17503 Cook Rd, Burlington, WA 98233. Please share your memories of Chris and sign the online guest register.