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Theresa Anne Spaulding
July 21, 1958 – Feb. 16, 2022

After a protracted six-year struggle with metastasized breast cancer, Theresa Anne Spaulding of Philomath, OR passed away on February 16, 2022, at the age of 63. She shared her last breath with the love of her life, Rich Saalsaa, and daughter, Cade, by her side. They held her hands, telling her they loved her, and she was given words of compassion to let go, and to find her peace. Her other daughter, Rachel, and her grandchild, Grey, were able to share time with Theresa in her last days. Her cat, Sven, stayed by her side until the veil was lifted.

Theresa Anne Spaulding

Theresa is survived by her two brothers, Mark Spaulding, and his wife, Sandy, and Peter Spaulding, and his wife, Karen; her mother in-law, Patricia; sisters in-law, brother in-law, many cousins and a myriad of nieces and nephews from both sides of the family, several great nieces and great nephews and her great aunts. Theresa spent a fair amount of time with her family who lives in Oregon, but enjoyed traveling down to California, where she had more family to spend time with on holidays and vacations.

Theresa is preceded in death by her mother, Lura; her father, Paul; and her son, Matt. Theresa is loved and missed dearly by all her family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Theresa gave herself fully to her life work of helping people of all ages. Earlier in life she was a social worker in Folsom, CA for at-risk mothers and their children. Deciding she needed new scenery, she moved north to Corvallis, OR, where she did varied positions working admin jobs for the Boys and Girls Club, and as a private in-home caregiver. She had another calling and moved further north to Washington State, where she got a second degree as an Occupational Therapist. She used her skills in both Utah and Oregon, but namely Oregon, the place she felt was her true home. Theresa touched the lives of many children and families while working for the Linn-Benton-Lincoln Educational Service District from 2000-2020, so much that they dedicated The Resource and Parent Lending Library in her name.

Theresa Anne Spaulding

Aside from the love of her career, Theresa was in love with the sound of the cello. She played a little herself, and she once said the sound was like a beautiful dream. She loved to go to Yachats, OR and walk up and down the beaches with Rich, holding hands and picking up agates and shells. She was able to enjoy her picturesque garden upon retirement where she grew some of her favorite flowers such as Dinner Plate Dahlias and Old-Fashioned Roses. She enjoyed planting her vegetable and fruit garden with Rich, Cade and Sven, and then taking her home-grown produce into her kitchen, where she cooked, baked and presented her family with tasty foods. She was a foodie and wished she was able to teach her grandchild how to love cooking as much as she did.

Theresa wished she could have traveled more and encouraged that others do more of this themselves. Theresa, however, was able to travel to Hawaii with her husband and had the literal time of her life a few months before she passed on. Anyone who saw her smile in the photographs knew she was a beacon of light, as she was a brave, iron-willed woman who dedicated herself to be positive and empowering all the way to the end.

Theresa requested to be cremated. A Celebration of Life will take place in Philomath on February 27th, at the Benton County Museum at 3 PM (RSVP requested and masks will be required).  There will also be a celebration at Divine Savior Catholic Church in Orangevale, CA (which will be livestreamed) on March 5th at 12 noon. Another celebration will be held in Salt Lake City on May 7th. These three communities were a large part of Theresa’s life and we invite those that want to pay their respects to the family to attend.

For more information or to RSVP contact Rich Saalsaa at We hope that you reach out to join us in person or online and know that we will carry you all with us as we say, “Farewell for now” to our beloved Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Cousin and Friend.

The family thanks the community for all their support over the last several months, particularly the Philomath Fire Department members, neighbors and LBL ESD. 

“With life as short as a half-taken breath, don’t plant anything but love.” — Rumi