Norman Schwinge, age 89, passed on Aug. 2, 2017 in Friday Harbor, Washington. He is survived by Joan, his wife of 65 years, their four sons, Robert, of Pacific Palisades, California; Craig and his wife Patti of Santa Cruz, California; Mark, of San Juan Island; and Scott and his wife Susan of San Juan Island. His parents and brother predeceased him. He has four grandchildren: Sarah Nguyen of Pasadena, California; Loren Schwinge of Santa Cruz, California; Devon Schwinge of San Juan Island; and Grant Schwinge currently residing in Corvallis, Oregon. A great grandson, Evan was born to Sarah and Tim Nguyen in Apri 2017.
Norm was born in Hood River, Oregon on Oct. 24, 1927, the younger of two boys born to John and Hilda Schwinge. When Norm was 1 year old his father died. Norm attended Benson Tech high school in Portland, Oregon and as a young man worked with the U.S. Forest Service and the Multnomah Fire Department. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces as soon as he was able, and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan where he worked on the crash crew and later at the island’s Armed Forces Radio Network station.
After Norm returned from World War II, his older brother Bob advised him to get a college education rather than return to a job being held for him at the fire department. With that in mind and with the generous support of the GI Bill, Norm attended and graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon and was editor of the school newspaper where he met his future wife, Joan Hills. They wed in 1952, and Norm went to work for Farmers Insurance as an underwriter in Portland.
In 1955 a job promotion enticed them to move to Farmers’ home office in Southern California. For 25 years they lived in Pacific Palisades, California. The family enjoyed trips to their cabin at Green Valley Lake, and also took frequent vacations to Portland, the Oregon coast and boating trips to the San Juan Islands.
Norman retired as director of advertising in 1979 and he and Joan bought the San Juan Hotel in Friday Harbor. Remodeling and upgrades soon followed as they converted it to a B&B and renamed it the San Juan Inn. They built a home on the west side of the island in the 1980s. He enjoyed improving and maintaining the property, and always had ready a few cords of firewood that he cut and split. He also enjoyed daily walks with the dog, boating trips, and roaming the northwest region.
He valued family and friends. With their adult sons and grandchildren, Norm and Joan traveled to Hawaii, San Diego, Canada, eastern Oregon and the Oregon coast. He and Joan loved to travel, and took many cruises. They traveled extensively to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Norm was active with the Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church where he served as treasurer, elder and deacon. He was also a regular attendee of the Rusty Zipper Club at a favorite local hangout in town. Norm and Joan moved to Village at the Harbour in 2014.
He and Joan have been very generous to family and friends. A kind and loving man with a rich sense of humor, he will be greatly missed by all who were fortunate to know him.
A memorial service will be held at Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church, 425 Spring Street, on Sept. 2 at 1 p.m. Donations in Norman’s memory may be sent to the Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church, POB 946, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.