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Shirley Suttles passed away peacefully on Friday, Nov. 26. She was 88. Shirley Janet Smith was born March 25, 1922 in Seattle, the third child of Walker Conger Smith and Marie Beidel Smith. Her parents were both active in the labor movement. Her father was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, the editor of several labor newspapers, and the author of "The Everett Massacre" and numerous IWW pamphlets and editorials. He died in 1927, when Shirley was only five years old, leaving Marie with Shirley and her older sisters to support as a worker in a dry-cleaning plant through the Great Depression. Walker’s writings and Marie’s cheerful and stoic determination had a strong influence on Shirley’s development and choice of career as a writer.
Dad's gone, so it's not about him. It's about us and how he made us feel, how he left a wake of smiles with his humor, his positive energy and appreciation. He was down from Juneau with us only three years and wasn't exactly a social butterfly, but everyone who came in contact with him felt his workingman Buddha essence and glowed with it. I know I did, and feel blessed.
Phil Robertson, a longtime resident of Shaw Island, passed away peacefully at home. He was 90. He was a native of San Francisco and lived there until moving to Shaw Island. A World War II veteran, he served in Europe and the Pacific.
John D. Lacher, father of Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher, died Monday, Oct. 25 after suffering a heart attack. He was 82. John was blessed with an easeful passing in the loving presence of wife Mary, daughter Lauren Cole, and son Kurt Lacher. John was born in Seattle, Wash. on July 24, 1928. John and Mary met at the University of Washington as students. They were married on July 8, 1950. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this summer. Children and grandchildren gathered from across the country to share stories, smiles and hugs that will long be remembered.
Nikki Fink, 28, of Friday Harbor, Wash., died of cystic fibrosis at University of Washington Medical Center after an extended stay while awaiting a lung transplant.
Graveside service for Nikki Fink is Saturday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m. at St. Francis Cemetery on San Juan Island. The service will be followed by a celebration of life, 4-6 p.m., at Rumor Mill.
As Nikki Fink lay in her hospital bed, her body fighting infection so she could get a life-saving lung transplant, family and friends prayed. They prayed for healing. They prayed for a miracle. The 28-year-old woman died peacefully, on a cool fall Sunday afternoon, surrounded by those who love her. And those in the room realized that their prayer had been answered, long before they ever offered it up.
William (Bill) Carpenter of Lopez Island, Wash. passed away peacefully at his home on Sept. 29, 2010. He was 83. Bill was born in Everett, Wash., and raised on Alki Beach in West Seattle. He graduated from West Seattle High School in 1943 and joined the Merchant Marine, where he served until the end of the war.
Kathryn Pinion, a centenarian who worked for the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives during the New Deal, died Thursday morning in her apartment at Village at the Harbour in Friday Harbor. Her daughters were at her side.
Helen Brown died Sept. 25 in Friday Harbor. Helen was born in 1915 in Montana. She attended Carleton College in Minnesota, majoring in Music. During college, she met her husband Kenneth, a philosophy teacher at Macalester College.
Alan Henry "Micky" Minsch 91, passed away in Chehalis, Wash. Alan moved to Friday Harbor after the war. He served in the Navy in the South Pacific. After arriving in Friday Harbor, he met and married school teacher Lois Wehrly. Alan worked for San Juan Ag.
Florence was born in Seattle to William A.H. and Catherine Philo, two immigrants from England. She grew up in Seattle, attending seven different schools as her family moved frequently. Before she met Ralph, she attended school with his niece Charlotte and they became lifelong friends.
Bill Hamel, born Oct. 18, 1936, passed away Oct. 5, 2010 in Ellensburg, Wash., while traveling to Arizona. He was born in Plattsburgh, N.Y. and moved to Orcas Island with his wife in 1985. He came to the Pacific Northwest through his employment with Boeing.
Twila May Stephens passed early Sunday, Sept. 19 at her home in Friday Harbor. She was 66. Twila migrated to the island shortly after her mother Sidonia Barker moved here in 1986. Twila was a jack of all trades, capable of fixing almost anything, in the most innovative ways. She loved anything Indian and was especially gifted at carving.
William James Wagner, of Friday Harbor, Wash., formerly of North Platte, Neb., died Aug. 12, 2010. Bill was born on Dec. 25, 1937, in Carroll, to William and Florence Wagner. He resided in Wayne during his childhood, graduated from Wayne High School in 1955 and attended Wayne State College.
Mark Miller was born Aug. 18, 1923 to Mark and Elizabeth Miller in Portland, Ore. He grew up in Medford. After a year of college at Oregon State University, he joined the Army Air Corps where he became a bombardier, flying B-17s out of England. He flew 25 missions as a member of the Eighth Air Force. When he returned in 1945, he continued his schooling, graduating from OSU in Engineering.
Clifford Elmer Rouleau, born May 21, 1928, died Sept. 6, 2010 in Harbor City, Calif. He was born in Friday Harbor, Wash., and spent his early years on San Juan and Orcas islands, also Maple Falls, Wash., and Mount Baker Highway.
Roy Berg, 85, long-time resident of Lopez Island, passed away Aug. 27, 2010 in Mukilteo, Wash. He was laid to rest at a graveside service at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Everett, next to his second wife Bonnie Belle who died of cancer in 1964.
Irene R. Meredith, of Friday Harbor, Wash., passed away on Friday, Sept. 3, 2010. She was 92 years old. Arrangements are pending with Moles Good Steward Funerals.
Barbara Phelps of Lopez Island, Wash., passed away Aug. 30, 2010 at home surrounded by family. She was 86. She was born Barbara Jean Plummer on Feb. 20, 1924 in Fort Collins, Colo., the daughter of Cecil and Velda Plummer. She was the oldest of three siblings.
Roy Berg, long-time resident of Lopez Island, passed away Aug. 27, 2010 in Mukilteo, Wash. He was 85. He was laid to rest Sept. 2 at a graveside service at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Everett next to his second wife, Bonnie Belle, who died of cancer in 1964.
Mary Margaret Gavin Champlin was born April 19, 1918 in Chicago, Illinois. She married David Champlin in November 1940. They moved to California where she was actively involved at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, as a Scout den mother, in Cotillion and PTA, and in camping, sailing and gardening.
Bill will always be remembered for his easygoing manner, ability to make friends with anyone and a great sense of humor. He always was drawn to the sea — as a member of the United States Navy, commercial fishing in Alaska as a young man, or working and retiring from Marine Construction and Design in Ballard after more than 30 years.
Alaire Freeman died Aug. 5, 2010 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham, Wash. She was 81. Alaire was born in Madeira, Calif., to Henry and Mary (Schmitt) McMullin. They lived several places in Montana before moving to Johnson County, Wyo., in 1940. She rode horseback to school as a middle-schooler and in high school boarded with her future mother-in-law. Alaire married Parish Freeman in 1948 and they had one daughter.
We lost a great soul and a brilliant mind in the passing of Robert L. (Bob) Charters on Aug. 15, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Patricia (Pat) Charters; children, Bill, Robin, Jean (Ream), John, and Chris; sister, Jean Van Hoomissen of Portland, Ore.; and 14 grandchildren.
Florence Philo Ericksen of Stuart Island, born Jan. 28, 1920, passed into the hands of the Lord on Aug. 10, 2010. She was 90.
Betty French Landberg passed away at her home on Jensen Bay on San Juan Island on Aug. 7, 2010 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. She was 87.
Long-time Friday Harbor resident Betty J. Hood, 88, died July 28, 2010, in Orem, Utah, after suffering a stroke. Service is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 7, at 3 p.m. at Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.
Marguerite Rebecca Gudgell came to Orcas Island on the afternoon boat on a clear day in late summer of 1963. The wife of a school teacher and mother to three children, her arrival would change the lives of countless people for decades to come.
William B. "Bill" Morrice passed away July 18, 2010 at the Mount Baker Care Center with his family at his side. Bill was born May 15, 1918 in Seattle, Wash. He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Violet R. Morrice; parents, William and Ester Morrice; daughter, Sharon Blake; son, Charles Grant Jr.; and grandsons, Dale Grant and Charles Grant.
Former Friday Harbor resident John Paul Cook died May 14, 2010, in Rathdrum, Idaho. He was born in Stockton, Calif., in 1923. He moved to Juneau in 1957 from Bend, Ore., to work as a printer with The Juneau Empire, with his family initially living above the Empire facilities, then located at Main and Front streets. Shortly after statehood, he began working at the state’s Wage and Hour Division in the Department of Labor. He retired in 1982 as director of Workers Compensation.
Andrew Bryan Whitelaw passed away on May 14, 2010 at Life Care Center in Friday Harbor, where he had lived for the past 18 months. He was 73. Bryan was born in New York City on July 17, 1936 to Andrew and Emily Whitelaw. After graduation from high school in New York, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1956 where he served as a pilot and master at arms assigned to the Lexington. He received an honorable discharge in 1960 and remained in San Diego, Calif., where he was “welding lead man” for PSA Airlines. He also designed and built boats, including one for Roy Disney.
Virginia L. Nelson (Hay) passed away peacefully at her home in Friday Harbor on June 17, 2010. Virginia “Ginney” died quietly with her two daughters, Catherine and Diane, and their husbands at her side. Virginia was born in Great Falls, Mont., Dec. 4, 1928. She is a graduate of Queen Anne High School, Seattle, Wash., where she made many lifelong friends. Ginney planned her 60th Queen Anne High School Reunion.
Phil Gates found freedom and connection with the infinite on Jan. 28, 2010 at the age of 90. Born in 1919 in Denver, Colo., to Herman and Nelle Gates. He is survived by his sister Phyllis Fenger of Carpinteria, Calif., and her daughter Ellen Fenger of Santa Barbara, Calif.; son Scott Gates of Friday Harbor, Wash.; daughter Lisa Gates, her husband Charlie Waldron, and their son Cole Waldron, of Santa Barbara, Calif.; and daughter Julie Gates of Marin, Calif.
After graduating from Stadium High School in Tacoma, Violet moved to Seattle and raised her three children on Queen Anne Hill. During World War II, Violet was a Civil Defense precinct operator and Grey Lady nurse, caring for the wounded as they arrived on ships from the Pacific War. Her career spanned the hotel and lumber industries and many years as an administrative assistant for the Washington State Ferry system.
Often, high school graduation is viewed by many as a chance to celebrate with drinking alcohol or using illegal substances. Thankfully, our community once again stepped up to help offer our graduating seniors another option: Project Grad Night, an all-night, alcohol and drug-free party exclusively for them!
Born in Cottage Grove, Ore., Jan. 7, 1921, Marian is the daughter of Elmer and Nellie Mae Moore. She graduated from Cottage Grove High School in 1938. She studied Dietary Management and Home Economics at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
Bea obtained her B.A. in English in 1938 and gradually worked her way to the West Coast as a teacher, spending time in New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, and Vancouver, B.C. She began her teaching career in 1950 as a nursery school teacher, then taught grades 1-8 at various times over the next 33 years. It was the Great Depression and seeing the breadlines that motivated Bea to have a lifelong career.
Susan Padgett-Dermody was born in Shelton, Wash., on Jan. 2, 1948. She grew up in Olympia, graduating from Olympia High School in 1966. Educational pursuits took her initially to WSU then to Central Washington, with her first husband, where she graduated with her B.A. in ’70.
Born on San Juan Island Nov. 17, 1923, she was the oldest daughter of Rod and Hazel Wills. Hazel, her mom, came to town in a horse-drawn buckboard to visit the midwife, Ella Dightman. She lived nearly her entire life on the island. Her grandfather was stationed at English Camp during the Pig War. Yes, she was an islander.