Fred Sundstrom: 1916 — 2011; services Saturday | Passages

Fred Sundstrom: 1916 — 2011 - Contributed photo
Fred Sundstrom: 1916 — 2011
— image credit: Contributed photo

Fred Sundstrom passed away peacefully at October House in Friday Harbor on Nov. 30, 2011, at the age of 95.

He was born on San Juan Island to John and Josephine Sundstrom on May 30, 1916, and lived out his entire life on the island with the exception of his time working at a Bellingham shipyard for less than a year after the births of his first two daughters, his time in the Army during WWII, and three years in Bellingham, again in an assisted living residence in recent years.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Claudine “Cricket” Sundstrom, grandson Marc Rhine, sister Lenore, four of his five brothers (Dave, Clyde, Wade, and Lindy) and son-in-law, Gary deBeauclair.

His passing is mourned by his surviving family, including children Sondra (Sundstrom) deBeauclair, Arlene (Sundstrom) Rhine, Linda Sundstrom, and Dan Sundstrom (Mary); grandchildren Lisa (deBeauclair) Berger, Diane (deBeauclair) McKinney, Doug Rhine, Aimee Innes (Daniel), Emily Lee (Jason), Shaun Armstrong and Erika Sundstrom (Josh); great-grandchildren Andrew Berger, Oscar Lee, Henry Lee, Margo Innes and Danielle Crossen; and brother Al Sundstrom (Deanna).

He will be missed by these and many others whose lives he touched.

Fred’s life was a life of service to his family, his country, his community, and many, many individuals in need of a helping hand. After the birth of daughters Sondra and Arlene, he served his country in the army in the Pacific Theater of WWII. He returned after the war to add two more children, Linda and Dan, to his family.

Years later he began his great undertaking to build a 32-foot ketch-rigged wooden sailboat in his barn. This involved building a steam box to bend the planking, saving scrap metal that he eventually shipped out to a firm in Seattle to have melted down and cast as a keel, and many, many hours of work in the evenings.

During this period, his days were spent earning a living as a heavy equipment owner/operator, working on San Juan and several other islands in the logging industry, building dams, ponds and roads, doing the earthwork for the building of Friday Harbor Airport with Roy Franklin, and numerous landscaping projects for the construction of homes and businesses.

His beloved boat, “Dansal” was launched in 1958, and it brought him many years of enjoyment, sailing and fishing in the San Juans. He learned (self-taught) celestial navigation, enabling him to make sailing trips that ranged as far as Alaska via the inside passage, and one complete circumnavigation of Vancouver Island as late as 1994, during which he had his 77th birthday.

In later years he contracted his equipment exclusively to FH Sand & Gravel, which gave him fodder for his “gravel pit stories” at home. His lifelong and often quirky sense of humor was reflected in those stories and many others, inspired by having grown up in a family of pranksters.

Fred retired in 1972 due to an ongoing back injury, and remained an active member of his community for many years to come (American Legion, Grange, Moose and San Juan County Fair to name just a few).

Retirement also included making three trips to Sweden with Claudine to visit relatives and tour “the old country” of his father; several visits to California to see daughter Sondra and family in Santa Clara, and brother Dave in San Diego; maintaining his home, his hobbies, and his boat – and sailing his “home islands” to his heart’s content.

— Family of Fred Sundstrom

Services, Saturday, Dec. 10:

Graveside, Catholic Cemetery, Madden Lane., 1:30 p.m., Celebration of Life, Mullis Senior Center, Nash Street., 2 p.m., Viewing, Valley Church, Madden Lane, noon.



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