Roger Sandwith: 1947 — 2011 | Obituary

Roger Sandwith: 1947 — 2011

Roger Blair Sandwith, a.k.a. “Big Rog,” passed away on Nov. 23, 2011 surrounded by family in Friday Harbor, Wash.

He was 64.

Roger was born in Bellingham, Wash., on June 7, 1947 to Perry “Pat” and Mildred Sandwith. He grew up on the Sandwith family homestead on San Juan Island, and after graduating from Friday Harbor High School, enrolled at Bellingham Technical College.

He went on to enlist in the United States Air Force, where he served as an air policeman for seven months and seven days before he was relieved of duty due to medical discharge. It was during his service that he met his beloved wife, Sharon, in her home state of Oklahoma. On Dec. 23, 2011, they would have celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.

Roger owned an excavation business for several years, and then went to work at Friday Harbor Sand & Gravel, from which he retired after 22 years of service.

When his children were young, he was a Webelo/Cub Scout leader for several years, coached Friday Harbor Little League Baseball, and was instrumental in bringing the sport of wrestling to the Friday Harbor High School athletic program. He served as post commander at the Friday Harbor American Legion for two years and was a long-time member of Islands Community Church, where many children knew him as “The Candy Man”.

His larger-than-life personality was hard to miss on San Juan Island, and he could often be found teasing and joking in grocery store aisles, out of his car on Spring Street, and almost every morning with the coffee shop guys at the Donut Shop/Blue Dolphin/Hungry Clam. Many who knew him well were privileged to see his softer side as a devoted lover of God, family and friends.

He had a special place in his heart for children, animals, the disabled and elderly people.

Roger is survived by his wife Sharon, daughter Shannon, son Roger (wife Marlis), grandchildren, Gunnar, Finn and Ada, mother Mildred (King) Sandwith, brothers Colin, Mike (wife Shari) and Perry (wife Sheila), sister Patsy Orazio (husband Joe), as well as many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his daughter Angela Sandwith, father Perry “Pat” Sandwith, sister-in-law Florence “Frosty” Sandwith, and nieces Joanne Young and Jamie Lynn Tull.

A private family interment will take place at the Valley Cemetery on San Juan Island. A memorial service will be held at the Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Roger’s name to Seattle Children’s Hospital at the following web or regular mailing addresses:

Arrangements are under the care of Gillies Funeral Home of Lynden. To leave messages go to

— Family of Roger Sandwith

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