Ode to Terry Ogle, craftsman and friend

Terry and Janie Ogle in their art studio downtown. The two are currently in Seattle awaiting Terry's STEM cell procedure.

When people first meet Terry Ogle, they often ask him where he’s from right off the bat. Although he’s been an island resident for 24 years, he still carries a persistent southern twang.

“I grew up in a small rural Texas farming community where the accent just came with the territory,” Ogle said. Ogle is perhaps best known in the community as a craftsmen and a friend, as well as for his downtown studio that he opened with wife Janie featuring handmade artwork.

For more than four years Ogle has been fighting cancer that has required expensive procedures and is starting STEM cell transplants that will begin at the end of September. After his treatment at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance he will stay in Seattle for four months of recovery.

“Cancer has changed my life but it will not define who I am,” Ogle said. “With the support of my family, friends and community the will to fight remains.”

A recent fundraiser for Ogle proved just what sort of support he has in the community. The volunteer-run fundraiser sold out all 500 tickets and was “beyond their expectations and greatly appreciated,” according to organizer and friend Marie DiCristina.

DiCristina recalled a moment at the event when the crowd Skyped with Terry and Janie Ogle, currently in Seattle, so he could say thank you to everyone who was there to support him. DiCristina said the amount total generated by the fundraiser can’t be released, but related an exciting moment when Ogle’s woodwork sculpture “Whale Playing in Kelp” went up for auction. After a lively bidding war, the piece sold for $7,000.

“Guests poured generously from their hearts, volunteers provided helping hands and gift givers gave the resources to make the event truly a success on all fronts,” DiCristina said.

Ogle’s craftsmen talents were taught to him by his father, a rancher and painting contractor, but his passion for art blossomed when he lived in Corpus Christi, Texas. There he became a resident of the Southwest Sculpture Society and Board of Director of the Corpus Christi Art Association.

“This is where my love of free-flowing undersea forms was inspired,” Ogle said. The auctioned “Whale Playing in Kelp” is a good example of such love exemplified through his art. Ogle than lived in Scottsdale, Arizona to work as a foreman in the high rise construction trade.

“I was captivated by the incredible mountainous desert scenery and hiked and explored many wild places,” Ogle said. His paintings and sculptures inspired by the landscapes there eventually led him to the prestigious Arizona Artist Guild and was featured in various art shows. After moving around the south and southwest, Ogle made the move up north to the islands and started a custom house painting business.

“I have had the privilege to work with some of the greatest craftsmen on some of the finest homes in the Northwest,” Ogle said. “San Juan Island is our home and has inspired me in my creative pursuits of wood carving and watercolor.” He added that the art studio downtown has become a “big part of their lives.”

Since originally being diagnosed with Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia, Ogle’s cancer has transformed into a lesser known type of lymphoma. During this time Ogle has had 22 months of remission, and the rest of the time he has had various forms of chemotherapy.

Throughout the years Ogle has been a professional diver, construction foreman, professional painting contractor, baseball coach, mentor, family member and friend. To donate directly to the Ogles or to see photos of the fundraiser go to the website. To send well wishes, mail to P.O. Box 1383, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.