Teresa passed away Saturday night, April 20, 2013, at Grays Harbor Community Hospital from renal failure due to diabetes and obesity. Despite heroic efforts by Dr. Troeh and Dr. Gibbs, her kidneys failed a second time and she died peacefully with comfort care only. Many thanks to the staff on the 3rd floor and in the CCU. They not only cared for Dr. Solis, but also saw that her partner of 15 years, Sally Womer, had everything she needed.
Teresa was born July 23, 1954, to Irene Crabtree Solis and Alex Solis. The Crabtrees were W.V. coal miners. The Solis family were land owners in Mexican Texas when Texas became an American territory. No wonder Dr. Solis was a survivor who knew how to work hard. She supported herself through Muskegan Community College where she was active in the theatre group. She graduated salutatorian, and then she went to Michigan State University where she majored in Pre Med. In 1982, Dr. Solis graduated from MSU School of Medicine. Since the government actually assisted college students back then, she was sent to South Texas to repay her student loans. After 4 years working in migrant clinics, she opened her own practice in southern Texas. Next, Dr. Solis spent four years as an ER doctor in a major Dallas Hospital.
After George W. Bush was elected Governor of Texas, Teresa decided it was time to leave. That began her 17 year service to the tribal Nations in the Northwest. Dr. Solis worked at Roger Saux Health Center in Taholah for 11 years. She was instrumental in building the new health clinic, implemented the electronic record keeping, sat on the banks of the Quinault River all day as rescuers searched for a drowning victim, opened the clinic at 11:00 p.m. when the paddlers were stranded out in the ocean due to thick fog and opened the high school gym one weekend where patients were treated for food poisoning. 57 people lay on cots with their IVs duck taped to the walls. Six people were sent to Grays Harbor Community Hospital. Teresa worked in Idaho for the Nez Perce. The last two years she worked in Shelton with the Skokomish tribe.
Locally, Dr. Solis is remembered for her love of Texas Hold ‘Em. At the Quinault Beach Resort she won a car. In Lake Tahoe, during the Women’s World Series of Poker, she was down to one chip and ended up winning Second Place. As she walked around the casino she heard people exclaiming, “There she is! That’s the one who came in second!”
Teresa and Sally moved to Olympia in 2008. With them were two dogs and four cats, all adopted from local pounds. There is one toothless dog and one ancient Maine Coon remaining, along with Sally, who gets around just fine with her new knees. Always an optimist, Terri ordered tickets to six Mariners games, then she became sick, forgot her passwords and the tickets are stuck in her computer. Maybe Sally can get them out somehow, now that she is no longer at the hospital for two weeks.
Dr. Solis was preceded in death by her father, and brother, Jim Solis. Her mother and sisters Millie Folta and Mary Solis live in Muskegon, Mich. and sister, Pat Foster lives in Shreveport, La. Her sister-in-law, Fay Solis lives in Austin, Texas. There are two nieces, three nephews and two stepsons.
A gathering for storytelling and conversation will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2013, at Elma’s Guest House Inn, formerly called the Microtel Inn. All are invited.