Desiree “Ticker” Schaltenbrand1928-2022


Desiree Isolde “Ticker” Schaltenbrand passed away on January 9, 2022, only three weeks after being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. She died at her home on San Juan Island, Washington, surrounded by heartbroken family and friends.

Desiree was born in Lynbrook, New York, on January 19, 1928, to Hans Heinrich Schaltenbrand of Oberhausen, Germany, and Madeleine Ruth (Lehmann) Schaltenbrand of Brooklyn, New York. As a very young child, she was fascinated with watching clocks, so her family started calling her Tick-Tock, later shortened to Ticker. She continued to be known as Ticker throughout her life and was always suspicious of any phone caller who asked for “Desiree” because it was probably a sales call. Her father died far too young in 1940, leaving Madeleine a widow with a German last name and two children to support at the outbreak of World War II. This loss cast a long shadow over the little family’s lives.

In the early 1950s, Madeleine, Ticker, and Ticker’s younger brother, Eugene, moved to southern Indiana when Madeleine was offered a job in Louisville, Kentucky. They purchased a fixer-upper house in New Albany despite the purple interior walls and a bathroom in the living room “because it had a great view.” Ticker remained in that home (after some renovations) until she moved to San Juan Island many decades later.

Ticker was hired as a secretary at the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York’s Louisville office in about 1968. She stayed at MONY through three generations of bosses: Ralph Ruch Sr., his son Jimmy, and finally Jimmy’s son, Bradley. She “retired” at age 83 or so but continued to work there part-time until she was 87.

She moved to Friday Harbor in 2015 to be with her family and to retire for real. She then promptly joined the volunteers at PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center and served as secretary for their Executive Board until she stepped down last year at age 93. The photograph above was taken during a Board meeting; she was approximately 90 at the time.

Ticker was known for her grace, sense of humor, and seemingly endless well of energy. She loved being involved with her daughter Elizabeth’s musical and theatre activities and was always ready to tag along to a rehearsal or performance. She was an avid reader, especially of murder mysteries, and enjoyed sewing, crochet, quilting, and various other crafts throughout her lifetime. She was a stickler for proper grammar and spelling and probably would not have approved of the lack of commas after the words “daughter” and “Elizabeth’s” earlier in this paragraph since she had only one child.

Ticker’s mother passed away in 2001 at age 98. Her brother, a resident of Wetumpka, Alabama, died in January 2020 at the age of 88. She is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth Schaltenbrand; her grandsons, Patrick Davis and Ian Davis; and her “bonus” granddaughter, Anna Nelson, all of Friday Harbor; her sister-in-law, Barbara (Greenwell) Schaltenbrand, now of Mount Washington, Kentucky; niece Stephanie (Schaltenbrand) Brooks and family; and nephew Stephen Schaltenbrand and family.

A Memorial Service will be held in the spring with plans to be announced. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the San Juan Community Theatre in Friday Harbor ( where a campaign has been started in her name. Donations will go to support live music and musical theatre performances at SJCT. To share memories of Ticker, please sign the online guestbook at