Sylvia Ahnell Gervais

Sylvia Gervais entered into eternal rest on March 21, 2020 at her home in Chelan, Wash. with her loving family at her side.
Sylvia was born April 16, 1939 in Blue Island, IL to Suno and Rose Ahnell. She joined older sister Gloria. Brother Arden was born 13 years later. Suno’s family had emigrated from Sweden when he was two. During the Great Depression with many banks and businesses closing, he helped support his family by scavenging and using materials and supplies from these buildings. His skill in metallurgy, pattern making and woodworking helped direct Sylvia’s lifetime journey.
Sylvia’s childhood in Blue Island, a suburb of Chicago, was happy and she remembers her mother Rose was a good cook, following in her own mother’s path as a capable homemaker and good cook.
In high school, Sylvia loved being in the marching band, participated as a bugler in the drum and bugle corp, and also played the accordion. She worked part-time in a doctor’s office and was fascinated with radiology. After graduation she enrolled in a two-year radiology program, but was needed at home to care for her new baby brother.
Eventually, a friend invited her to go along to a U.S. Air Force recruiter’s office. There, on a whim, in November, 1957 she enlisted. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Sylvia remembers she could hardly afford a bus ticket home.
Continuing with her interest in the new field of radiology, Sylvia began on the job training at McGuire Air Force Base at Wrightstown, NJ. Early in 1958 she received her orders to Travis Air Force Base near Fairchild, CA. There, in November, 1959 Sylvia became a certified radiologist with the AART (American Registration of Radiological Technicians) which Sylvia maintained until the late 1990s.
Soon after she met Staff Sergeant Bob Gervais, serving in preventive medicine at Travis AFB, who seemed to be looking for a fishing partner. When Bob was assigned to Iceland, Sylvia went to Syracuse, NY to get acquainted with his family. They were married on Hallowe’en in 1959—and the rest is history. (The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last Hallowe’en.)
The couple decided one person serving in the US Air Force was enough. Sylvia gladly supported her husband as he later became a medical administrator in the Air Force and served at Hill AFB in Utah, Tinker AFB in Oklahoma along with some duty in France, England, Japan and Korea.
After two children joined their family, Sylvia often worked as a radiological technician during the evening hours.
When Bob Gervais retired from the Air Force in September, 1973 he was required to write his resume as part of his retirement duties. This resume was made public, and they received several telephone calls offering  Bob employment in medical administration. One call came from Chelan, Wash.
Sylvia and Bob loved Chelan at first sight, rented a house, and arrived in Chelan on a dark, cold January day in 1974. They later purchased a house, and Bob managed the local health clinic for 22 years, where Sylvia worked as a radiological technician until they both retired.
Sylvia will be remembered as a veteran, a patriot, a radiological technician who was a pioneer in the field, a devoted wife and mother, who loved to travel. Three Caribbean cruises on Windjammer sailing ships and a long visit with her brother in England were highlights for her, as well as a short-lived antiquing business with container shipments sent to Chelan from England. She was a member of the first EMT class in the Lake Chelan Valley and served the valley as an EMT for eight years.
Sylvia Ahnell Gervais was preceded in death by her father, mother, sister, brother, son Troy and grandson Steven.
She is survived by her husband Bob of the family home; daughter Monique (Paul) Reynolds, Northbend, OR; six grandchildren, Sean, Anthony, Emily, Maria, Chris, John; two great-grandchildren, Garrett and Ezra; brother-in-law Richard Gervais, Syracuse, NY; and many nieces and nephews.
Interment will be at a later date at Moses Lake Veterans Cemetery.

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