Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Kara Davidson
Gazette Reporter 

Coroner Annie Pillers finds position calls for many skills


January 24, 2019

Annie Pillers

Newly-elected Whitman County Coroner Annie Pillers. Photo courtesy of Pillers.

At the 2018 November election Annie Pillers ran unchallenged for the position of county coroner. Pillers had been appointed coroner earlier in February of last year after the former coroner, Peter Martin, announced his retirement. Martin was county coroner for 37 years.

Pillers has lived in Whitman County for 29 years and has served as deputy coroner since November of 2008. In 2013, she was named chief deputy coroner.

Even though it is a 24/7 job, like any other emergency care service, Pillars enjoys her work because she feels it allows her to help others. She feels it is important to be there for the families.

"It's very clear to me we all experience life's joys and tragedies," said Pillers, "This work calls forth all stations of my being – kindness and compassion, medical and scientific knowledge and comprehensive investigative skills."

Since 2004 Pillers has taken an active part in hospice, end-of-life-care and community grief support groups. While many people struggle to understand how she can do what she does, she doesn't find it a great struggle.

"I see the most tender, caring nature of the human being as they say goodbye and share their stories about their loved ones," said Pillers, "I witness over and over a caring and cohesive community that supports the families we serve."

Pillers moved to Whitman County from Sacramento, Calif., where she was raised after being adopted from Tipperary, Ireland, when she was just under three-years-old. She received a bachelor of science in human relations and organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco.

Pillers had worked her way up to general manager of the Peace Officers' Research Association of California before moving to Palouse in 1990 with her husband, Marvin.

In Whitman County, Pillers has worked in administration in the Town of Garfield, the City of Palouse and for the Port of Whitman. Pillers has also worked as an elder-care case manager for the Council on Aging and Human Services. She is currently the executive director of the Friends of Hospice part-time.

Her volunteer activities include being a CPR-First Aid instructor, a senior EMT instructor, an EMS evaluator, Palouse EMS, a SAR volunteer and a hospice volunteer.

Pillers became an EMT in 1999 and learned that they couldn't save everyone, but they were still able to serve the families.

"That was my first nudge towards hospice, end-of-life care and grief support," stated Pillers. "It has enriched me deeply."

Today she is grateful to work alongside law enforcement and dispatch, chaplains, EMS and medical professionals. Her background with grief, end-of-life and hospice has made working in the coroners' office a natural transition.


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