President: Pat Dickason
Pat was born and raised in Eastern WA, is an alumni of University of WA, did graduate work at Seattle University. She’s a retired state worker, now enjoying living in downtown Olympia. Pat has been involved in League since 2006, co-chaired the State League study on Early Education, served on the State League Board, chaired the State Lobby Team, and was elected Thurston President in 2015. Pat loves working with such an active, committed, concerned group of women and men.
Vice President: Ruth Harms
Ruth is a Washington native. She recently retired from a lifetime career as an educator and advocate for children and families. Ruth taught in Sierra Leone, Australia, and Longview. She was the Director of a shelter for battered women and the coauthor of a curriculum that teaches children about preventing child sexual abuse. She was also the Child Abuse Prevention Supervisor for 5 years at the Office of the Supt. Of Public Instruction. Before retiring Ruth worked for Seattle Children’s Hospital to introduce a program to prevent “Shaken Baby Syndrome”. As a League member, Ruth worked on the LWV Early Childhood Education Study, the Growth Management Study and helped develop training to promote "The State We’re In: Washington."
Secretary: Sandra Herndon
Sandra was born in southern Mississippi, raised in Memphis, and lived, studied, and taught in states from Tennessee, New York, Illinois, to Oklahoma. She is Professor Emerita of Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. She and her husband retired to Harstine Island in 2005. There she became a hospice volunteer, a member of the Turning Pointe DV Services board, and was an adjunct Professor at Olympic College-Shelton. She was President of the Mason County League, co-chaired the LWVWA convention there in 2013, and is past Secretary of LWVWA Board. Sandra and her husband moved to Olympia in 2016 and joined LWVTC soon thereafter. She is currently President of Sound Learning Board for Mason and Thurston. Sandra is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her son and granddaughter in Portland. She is pleased to now be a member of the Thurston League board.
Treasurer: Peggy Murphy
Peggy has extensive education and volunteer and professional experience working with many legal issues regarding environmental law and land use planning. She worked with a major Environmental/Land Use attorney initially in Olympia and then in Bellevue with another major Environmental/Land Use attorney. She returned to Olympia in 1995 and worked with the Department of Natural Resources for seventeen years, including as litigation and Public Disclosure manager.
She also taught high school US History in Seattle and has volunteered for many years with the LWV, often focusing on voter education and facilitation.
Connie is a retired school teacher. She taught physical education and some mathematics in middle and high schools in the states of Washington, Indiana and Missouri. While retired and living in Bellevue, she spent several years volunteering as Education Chair of the Eastside Audubon. With a grant from Washington State Fish and Wildlife she was able to purchase educational materials on birds for elementary classrooms. She developed bird programs which included art, poetry and creative writing for mainly third and fourth grades in the Lake Washington, Bellevue and North Shore School Districts. She moved to Olympia ten years ago where she hikes, reads and spends time with grandchildren. She is honored to serve as Voter Services Chair for the Thurston County League.
Annie was born in north central Montana to a family that loved exploring the outdoors. She moved to Washington as a single parent with two young girls, one with special needs. She completed her undergraduate degree at TESC and went on to get her Masters at Pacific Oaks College. She remarried and had a third daughter. During that time she pursed a career in Early Learning working in a variety of roles including managing a nonprofit to ensure that all children had access to affordable quality programs. Upon retirement she refocused her attention on issues related to the environment. She is currently co leader for the WA chapter of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness. She performs with OlyImprov and the South Sound Story Guild. She cares for her grandchildren on a regular basis and can be found in the early mornings walking her Chocolate Lab Kipper or working in her garden.
Phyllis was born in Birmingham and still has relatives in the deep South she likes to visit. She was raised in Iowa and received her B.S. and M.A. degrees from the University of Iowa. She moved to Washington in 1976 and the Olympia area has become home. She retired from the North Thurston Public Schools after 35 years of teaching and is enjoying her retirement! She volunteers with political, community and environmental groups. She lobbies for policies to improve civic engagement, address climate change, and to protect public lands and clean water. She enjoys hiking, traveling and reading.
Shelley retired after a career as a small business owner. She graduated from The Evergreen State Collegewith a degree in Environmental Studies, and her participation in the League of Women Voters started in the area of food systems and environmental issues. Recently her interests have grown to include other aspects of the League's activities, especially voter services.
After living and working in Shelton for many years, Julie and her husband Michael sailed away on their 38 ft. sailboat “Surprize.” What was to be a one year sabbatical stretch to 12, mostly spent exploring the western Caribbean. They returned to Olympia in 2009, and Julie worked as a Medical Technologist at Providence St Peter until her retirement. She joined the league in 2016. Since then she has participated in "Coffee with the League" and has worked on the committee for the annual education luncheon. Julie, who is the newest board member, sees the League as a way to help encourage active and engaged voters. She is impressed by the commitment of League members and hopes to be able to help sustain a high level of excellence. In her spare time she is also a frustrated, but very enthusiastic gardener.
Darlene joined the League of Women Voters of Thurston County when she returned to the Northwest in 2014 to learn more about the political world we live in and to help make positive change for our community. She is currently the Executive Director of the Olympia Free Clinic and has over 30 years of experience in public health and social services.
R. Peggy Smith
Peggy was born and raised in Tacoma, WA. She graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a degree in Chemistry. After spending about ten years out of state, pursuing advanced degrees and career, she made her way back to Washington State. She then started her 30 plus year career as a state employee, working in a variety of planning, research, and data related positions. While in graduate school she joined the Association for Women in Science. This was the first of a number of women’s and community organizations she has been active in. Others include Washington Women United and the Women’s Political Caucus.
In anticipation of retirement, Peggy developed a passion for travel, hiking, and women’s basketball. It’s amazing how well these three fit together. With nudging from her friend Pat Dickason, she realized the League of Women Voters was a perfect place to invest her less strenuous volunteer time. Between, serving on the LWVTC Board, and being the LWVWA Education Fund Treasurer and on the state Board, there has been plenty to keep her busy and enjoying herself.
Marilyn joined the Thurston League of Women Voters in 2004 during a lull in her business career and was excited by the opportunities she found. Marilyn soon joined the Board and found mentors and friends. Although she had studied history, government seemed less appealing in her youth. The League awakened her interest in local politics, as well as national. The range of topics that were under study included a national study on Immigration, a State study on the ferry system and a local study on water. There seemed to be endless opportunities to grow, study and learn with the League. Marilyn served as VP to Eve Johnson, and later she was President of our local League. Today she’s prepared to again take an active role, even as she sees new members adding their energy and vision to our work.