Ursula Anne Louise (Kiefert) Thomsen, beloved wife, mother, and longtime Bainbridge Island resident, died on April 28, 2023, in West Seattle. She was 89. Ursula was born in Konigsberg, Germany (East Prussia) on June 23, 1933. Her family lived near Konigsberg until 1945, when the Russians took the city near the end of World War II. They fled with only what they could carry. Stories of this time are few as Mom didn’t talk much about her early years. What we do know is that she lost a half brother in the war.
Her father, Wilhelm Kiefert, passed in 1955. Around the same time she received a degree in Linguistics from Gottingen University. This explains Mom’s impeccable English. She was later employed as an executive secretary for CalTex, an oil company, in Hannover, (West) Germany.
In February 1963, she had her first child, Christiane Dora Kiefert. As a single mother, she had her hands full until fate intervened. In March 1964, Ursula, who always marched to her own drummer, answered an ad in a Berlin newspaper that was placed by a visiting Merchant Marine on leave: “American officer seeks marriage-minded German girl.” Apparently the first date went well, as on the second date James Robert Thomsen was introduced to Ursula’s daughter, and marriage was proposed.
Jim and Ursula married in Hannover on March 20, 1964. Soon after, mother and daughter immigrated to the United States and joined James in Bremerton, WA. Ursula, who had a very small family, landed into a clan of seven surviving siblings, and their spouses and children. Although mildly terrified at first, she became a beloved member of the “Thomsen Tribe.”
Ursula gave birth to a son, James Jr., on June 29, 1965. In 1966, she became an American citizen. She tended the home and raised the children while her husband continued to travel the world in the Merchant Marines. When she became pregnant again, James bought a home on Bainbridge Island, a beautiful place he had told her about back on those first dates. The family moved to “The Rock” on August 1, 1968, the very day she went into labor with her second son, Brian Theodore. She supported James as he retired from the Merchant Marines and established his own successful business, Thomsen Tax Service.
Mom raised her family on Eaglecliff Road on Bainbridge Island, a thriving neighborhood with families, some of whom we still know today. A lifelong Lutheran, she worked as a church secretary at Bethany Lutheran until the early ’80s, when she went back to school to start a new career. She worked as a Physician’s Assistant to a doctor in the Nephrology Department at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. Her husband died at home on February 17, 2000, after a battle with cancer. Ursula took loving care of him and always felt that was one of the best parts of her legacy. Throughout his last years they took frequent trips together and enjoyed happy togetherness. During this time she became a dedicated member of Port Madison Lutheran Church.
In 2005, after a moderate stroke, she moved to Marysville to live with her daughter. She later moved into an Everett apartment with a gorgeous view of Puget Sound. In 2010, she transitioned to Washington Oakes Senior Living in Everett, where she spent seven years.
In 2017, Ursula’s health issues forced a move to assisted living. She spent her last years at Providence Mount St. Vincent in West Seattle, where she was visited often by family and well cared for until her peaceful passing in the presence of her family. Ursula is survived by her daughter, Chris Thomsen (Kim Davis) of Burien; her son Jim (Sue Transeaux) of Kingston; and her son, Bryan, of Bainbridge Island. She was also preceded in death by her mother, Charlotte Kiefert, in Germany in 1984.
Ursula’s legacy is complicated and poignant. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donating to North Kitsap Animal Rescue & Education – https://nwkare.org/. Our mom loved animals, sometimes more than her own children!
Please feel free to go to her online obituary and leave a note or anecdote at Legacy.com.