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Sarah Elizabeth Lingle

July 22, 1955 - April 17, 2020

Dr. Sarah Elizabeth Lingle, 64, of Salem, OR passed away on April 17, 2020 at Providence Benedictine Nursing Center in Mt. Angel, OR.  She had lived fully and courageously with cancer for more than a decade.  Sarah was born on July 22, 1955 to John Clayton Lingle and Dorothy Adelaide (DuBois) Lingle in Davis, California.  She married Thomas Pratt Washington in McAllen, TX on May 20, 1989.  Her parents and husband preceded her in death.  Sarah is survived by her sister-in-law Esther (Robert) Schnase of San Antonio, TX, brothers-in-law Lawrence Washington of Bloomington, IN and Aubrey (Lynn) Washington of Norman, OK and many beloved extended family members and friends.
Sarah grew up in Modesto, CA.  She graduated from the University of California at Davis in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in genetics, then went on to earn a master’s in agronomy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and a PhD in agronomy from Washington State University.  She worked as a plant scientist for the USDA Agricultural Research Service from 1984 to 2011, first in Weslaco, TX and then in New Orleans, LA.  She specialized in sugarcane and sorghum research and published numerous articles in scientific journals.  Upon retirement, Sarah chose Salem, OR as her new home.
Throughout her life Sarah was both a devoted scientist and a devout Episcopalian.  She joined St. Paul’s Episcopal Church when she moved to Salem and was warmly welcomed into their faith community.  She sang in the choir and participated in numerous other church activities.  Sarah had a very active mind and wide-ranging interests.  She traveled extensively, was a voracious reader, loved gardening and bird watching, adored her cats, kept up with a host of Facebook friends, and was writing her first novel.  Sarah was kind, generous, resilient, brave, and an inspiration to the many people who knew and loved her.
A memorial service will be planned for a later date at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salem, OR.  Sarah’s ashes will be buried next to her husband Tom’s at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, TX.  In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Episcopal Relief & Development at or the charity of your choosing.  Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service is assisting the family.


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a brave and happy warrior; a loss to all who knew and were touched by her.

Sarah was such a lovely person: engaged, enthused, intrepid and always keen to experience more, and know more, and make more friends.  I met her at a number of Dunnett event, most notably in Istanbul in 2012 and Venice in 2016, and I was looking forward to Edinburgh and Orkney in 2021.  Sarah will be much missed: a light has gone out in the world.

I was Sarah’s personal assistant and caretaker for one year.  She was a good friend. Sarah looked honestly at the world and she had a very independent nature.  She told me that the first words her mother said she ever spoke were, “Me do it!”  Her bright, logical mind and observant nature offered clarity to any situation.  But she also enjoyed a good laugh.  We shared a lot of things in common including watching British Baking Show, Outlander, Discovery of Witches and Nature films.  She really introduced me to bird feeding and basic gardening.  I enjoyed taking care of her home and her sweet cat Sassy.  Her various charities, writing and historical clubs brought her joy and she shared some of that joy with me.  I wish we could’ve had more time together.  But she is in heaven now and I know she is at peace.  Heaven just got a significant upgrade to their alto section.  I love you, Sarah.  Godspeed. Your friend, Jenine Betschart 

The last time Nick and I saw Sarah was in August 2017 to view the solar eclipse with her in Salem, in the path of totality. She had just returned from Europe and was so very gracious to invite us to stay with her as Oregon expected vast numbers of people to crowd the hotels. She took some excellent photographs of the eclipse. We will miss her!

Blessings and prayers for a truly brave soul, who in my memory, always thought of the others around her even those she didn’t know well. 

Prior to moving to Salem, Oregon, and joining St. Paul's Episcopal Church there, Sarah lived in Jefferson Parish, LA, and attended St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at the time I attended that church the first time around. She sang in the choir there, too, and was always very pleasant to be with. I, for one, enjoyed associating with her. May she now rest in peace and rise in glory.

I never met Sarah in person. We shared an interest in the novels of Dorothy Dunnett and belonged to a number of online discussion groups. She faced a number of daunting health issues with great courage. She will be missed around the world.

Such a lively intelligence, and a wonderful presence at St. Paul's. She will be SO missed.

I only recently caught up with Sarah in the miracle that is Facebook. I think we first met in Roosevelt Junior High orchestra in Modesto, CA. We both played violin. Sometimes we sat together on the stand. I remember her as a sunny, grounded person, with a good head on her shoulders. I am glad that she kept music in her life, and it seems that it was a life well lived, though cut short. Rest in peace, Sarah.

I knew Sarah mostly through our mutual love of Dorothy Dunnett's novels, and enjoyed our encounters in New Orleans, Paris, Istanbul, and Venice.  After that I mostly followed her on Facebook, where I discovered our mutual interests in church, choir, and cats.  Sarah led her life with courage and determination, never giving in to the myriad of afflictions that rained down upon her.  Vaya con Dios, Sarah, and have a wonderful afterlife in Heaven -- you of all people belong there!  (Sarah is at the center of the Paris 2010 group picture in the white shirt and brown backpack straps)

I met Sarah during an Education for Ministry course a few years ago and kept up with her through Facebook. I was so sorry to hear that she had passed. She was bright, engaging, helpful, and kind. She actually listened when you spoke and considered your words; she made me feel heard. It was a pleasure to know her, even from far away, and I will miss her. 


Thomas and I both will always remember you fondly. You were one of the people I so enjoyed hearing from and reading about on Facebook! I will miss your sincere and thoughtful comments. The memory of your kind friendship will always be with us.

Rest in peace