Five Tacoma area moms who inspire us this Mother’s Day weekend.
1 Thea Foss. In 1889, the young mother of three bought a rowboat, fixed it up, rented it out and eventually ran a successful shipping empire with husband Andrew. At her 1927 funeral, Tacoma remembered the beloved Norwegian immigrant as “Mother Foss.”
2 Shalisa Hayes. In 2011, her teenage son, Billy Ray Shirley III, was shot and killed at an after-hours party. She channeled her grief into lobbying Tacoma leaders for a community center with a team of her son’s friends and classmates. The Eastside Community Center will open this year.
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3 Kate Landau. Last year, the single mom, at age 40, place second in the Boston Marathon master’s division after winning two Tacoma marathons (beating all the guys, too). She overcame an eating disorder and trained by pushing her 4-year-old daughter in a stroller.
4 Debbie Bridges. In 2003, the mother of four became a war widow when Staff Sgt. Steven Bridges of JBLM died in a vehicle rollover in Iraq. She went on to lead Tacoma’s Gold Star Wives chapter and lobby lawmakers for military family benefits. She died of cancer in 2011 at age 47.
5 Layla Isaac. In 2014, the mother of six opened Ice Cream Social, a growing Tacoma retail and wholesale producer of all-natural ice cream. As the kids have aged, it’s become a full-blown family business. Talk about maternal entrepreneurship. Mother Foss would be proud.