Irene Wyman, seen here at her home east of Port Angeles, has taken responsibility for the late Mari Andrus’ sizable doll and toy bear collection. Andrus is seen in the black and white photo held by Wyman. (Chris McDaniel/Peninsula Daily News)

Irene Wyman, seen here at her home east of Port Angeles, has taken responsibility for the late Mari Andrus’ sizable doll and toy bear collection. Andrus is seen in the black and white photo held by Wyman. (Chris McDaniel/Peninsula Daily News)

Sequim doll collector leaves behind legacy of love to benefit veterans

Longtime friend of Marilyn Andrus to see to woman’s wishes with sale on Aug. 13 in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — When Marilyn “Mari” Andrus of Sequim died of leukemia May 19, she left behind an extensive collection of antique dolls and teddy bears with explicit instructions that the majority be sold and the proceeds given to veterans organizations in Clallam County.

That wish now is being carried out by Andrus’ longtime friend Irene Wyman, a fellow member of the Olympic Peninsula Doll Club.

“We collected the same kind of dolls,” Wyman said recently at her home east of Port Angles while sitting on a couch surrounded by a selection of Andrus’ vast collection.

“That were her wishes: that I keep what I wanted and sell the rest of her collection.”

Hundreds of Andrus’ dolls and teddy bears are stored in about 15 tubs awaiting sale, Wyman said.

While it may be sad to sell off the collection, “I am fulfilling Mari’s wishes,” Wyman said.

“I just hope that a lot sell and make a lot of money for the veterans.”

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 13, Wyman and a cadre of volunteers will sell items in the collection at the Clallam County Veterans Center, 261 S Francis St., in Port Angeles.

The money will be given to Northwest Veterans Resource Center for dispersal to veterans organizations, Wyman said.

For more information, call 360-417-9444.

Andrus and her twin sister were born Feb. 27, 1930, to Alexander and Elizabeth Ferris in Cleveland, Ohio, according to her obituary.

On Jan. 27, 1950, Andrus married Tom. They were married 66 years.

In 1955, the two moved from Ohio to Burbank, Calif., where Andrus worked at NBC for 18 years and retired to pursue her passion — doll and teddy bear collecting.

The two also were avid motorcycle enthusiasts and active members of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Vincent Owners Association.

In 1990, the couple moved to Sequim where Andrus joined the Olympic Peninsula Doll Club.

It was there that Andrus met Wyman and forged a bond, said Wyman, who remains a member of the club.

Over the last 20 years, Wyman said, she had many good times with Andrus. Her fondest memory was made just before the death of her friend, she continued.

“I think it was actually the last day I was with her … before she went into the hospital” and was diagnosed with leukemia, Wyman said.

“She was diagnosed on Saturday night and she died on Thursday,” Wyman continued, adding she visited Andrus in the hospital.

”It went very fast.”

On their last day together outside the hospital, Andrus and Wyman “spent several hours together up in her doll room, and we just laughed and laughed and laughed,” Wyman said.

“Her daughter, Robin, said it sounded so good to hear her mom laugh like that.”

It was a special occasion because Andrus was suffering from dementia and had a rare instance of lucidity, Wyman said.

“It was just unbelievable,” she said.

“It is my favorite memory. We had several good times, but that one particular one is the one that stands out in my mind.”

Andrus is survived by her husband, Tom; her daughter and son-in-law, Robin and Joe Coelho; and her remaining brother, Dan Ferris of Florida.

________

Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected].

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