Remembering little Drue: Neighbors’ tribute in Morgan Junction

October 5, 2015 at 10:11 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

As they had promised in the note published here this morning, neighbors created a sidewalk-side memorial tonight for 17-month-old Drue Lehto, who died eight days ago of internal injuries that police say his father’s girlfriend confessed to causing by kicking him. They told us other community members had stopped by to add small tributes – stuffed animals, candles, flowers. It’s in a tree well along the sidewalk in the 6500 block of California SW, just south of the Morgan Junction apartment building where Drue died; you are welcome to add to it, they said. Meantime, the accused killer remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail; we’ll likely hear from prosecutors tomorrow about charges.

VIDEO: Summer-long ‘Swim Duwamish’ wraps up in West Seattle

September 30, 2015 at 1:20 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

It’s been a big year for milestone swims. Today, another one: That’s Mark Powell, on the last leg of his summer-long “Swim Duwamish” tour, incrementally traveling 55 miles, along the full length of the Green and Duwamish Rivers, to call attention to how vital it is to our region, and yet how fragile, after decades of abuse. As he swam to Seacrest, he didn’t arrive alone:

The Blue Heron Canoeescorted him in; Duwamish Tribe member Ken Workman spoke traditional words of welcome. See and hear for yourself (you’ll also hear what Powell said about his journey):

And then, celebratory cupcakes:

Powell said he set out to find “the heart of the Duwamish” and was glad to see the waters thick with salmon in some places:

His swims were chronicled on this website, where you can also see videos such as this one showing some of the salmon he saw:

Powell emphasized that you can take small steps to make a difference in the future of the river and all who live in it and by it and who depend on it (here’s one good place to learn “7 simple solutions”).

HELP! Memorial plaque planned to honor Chief Sealth graduates killed in action – can you help find their families?

September 22, 2015 at 12:21 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

After its 50th-anniversary reunion this year, the Chief Sealth Class of 1965 is working on a special project, and needs your help. The request we were asked to share:

The class of 1965 will be presenting a granite and brass Memorial Plaque of all Sealth graduates that were killed in action in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan at sometime in the near future. We were hoping that you might be able to assist us in notifying the families of these brave soldiers so they might attend if they wish or are able. Date to be determined.

Vietnam -
Sigrid Karlstrom ’61 (family notified)
Lewis Nelson ’62
Allan Potter ’64
Luigi Filbanese ’65
Thomas Foster ’65
Thomas Harding ’65
Richard Krogh ’65
Norman Chaney ’66
Dick DeGraaf ’66 (family notified)
David Lauritsen ’66
John Rauen ’66
Mark Knollmeyer ’67
Donald Douglas ’68
Clarence Risher ’68

Iraq -
Tracy Melvin ’95

Afghanistan -
Jarod Newlove ’03

Only 2 families have been notified so far. If we can at least get the contacts made in the next few weeks, it will be much easier to notify these families once a date has been set for the presentation of this memorial at Chief Sealth High School. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Ron Templin
Sealth ’65

If you are a relative of anyone mentioned – or if you know how to reach them – please e-mail Ron at – thank you!

West Seattleite Bill Schrier joins SPD as interim Chief Info Officer

September 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 9 Comments

Just announced via SPD BlotterBill Schrier, the West Seattleite who served as the city’s Chief Technology Officer until 2012, is back with the city, at least temporarily, as interim Chief Information Officer for Seattle Police. From the announcement:

As CIO, Schrier will lead the department’s efforts to bolster SPD’s information technology programs and services. He will be a part of the leadership team that will continue to fulfill Mayor Ed Murray and Chief Kathleen O’Toole’s vision that the SPD should be “second to none” when it comes to how the Department uses technology to support its officers and provides for the safety and security of the Seattle community.

As we noted when Schrier left his previous city role, much of the information we report here comes from government data – so these types of roles in particular are vital to increased transparency. We have long asked in particular for more police-report narratives to be made available, and more often – right now, only a tiny percentage of them get published online, and only in a few crime categories, because they generally have to be redacted by hand first, and that is labor-intensive. They’ve been working on ways to automate that process (as well as the much-more-publicized process of making body-cam video available), so we’re hopeful of a breakthrough. Back to today’s announcement: Schrier succeeds Greg Russell, a former Amazon exec, who left the CIO job after less than a year.

Remembering Steve James Bratsanos, 1926-2015

September 11, 2015 at 8:50 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

Family and friends are mourning Steve James Bratsanos, who died two weeks ago at 89. Here’s the remembrance being shared with the community:

Steve was born July 12, 1926 in Psara, Greece, and passed away August 28, 2015. Loving husband, father, and grandfather. Steve loved his church, his family, and especially his granddaughters. He had a lifelong love of sailboats and the sea. He was patient, kind, never complained, and always had a smile on his face.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Rose; daughter Marianne, son James, daughter-in-law Leslie, and his two granddaughters Amalia and Eliana. He will be greatly missed. Remembrances may be made to the Assumption Church or Philoptochos. Visit to learn more about Steve’s life. Services were held last weekend. From the program:

Steve (Stamati) was born on the island of Palea Psara, Greece, the youngest of three children. He had a trying life but always kept a smile on his face. As a young teenager, he survived the German occupation of Psara during WWII and its accompanying deprivations. The memory of those tough times stayed fresh through his whole life. He loved his adopted country and was proud of being an American, but his path to citizenship was not easy.

Click to read the rest of Remembering Steve James Bratsanos, 1926-2015…

FOLLOWUP: ‘Best experience of my life,’ says West Seattle’s Morgan McCullough of USA Baseball team’s world-title win

September 7, 2015 at 9:52 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 3 Comments

(Photos by Cameron HarrisUSA Baseball, republished with permission)

Toward the left of that photo, #5 on the USA Baseball 18U National Team, is West Seattle High School senior Morgan McCullough, gesturing “#1″ with both hands right after he and his teammates won the WBSC World Cup tournament in Osaka, Japan this weekend. We wrote on Saturday about the team making it into Sunday’s title game; Team USA was victorious over the host team, taking the USA’s third consecutive title, 2-1. McCullough, who is due home late tonight, started the game at playing second base and batting leadoff, drawing a walk to get on base early on:

His mom Jane Muxen McCullough says, “This is something he has been working for since he first picked up a bat.” We asked her what he had to say about the victory, and she relayed this quote: “It was the best experience of my life with the best teammates I could imagine. Representing the USA, the team felt we had targets on our back. We embraced that feeling and stuck together as a unit, and because of that we are gold medalists.” Morgan is the only Northwest resident on the team, whose roster you can see here.

Congratulations! ‘Diver Laura’ James honored as ‘Sea Hero’

September 7, 2015 at 11:15 am | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

From just-hatched octopus babies to an iridescent nudibranch, the sea life in the video above comprise just a tiny corner of the window on the undersea world that “Diver Laura” James has provided to so many in recent years. And it’s an adjunct to what else she and fellow volunteers have done in local waters – cleanups and environmental education, too. That all made her Scuba Diving magazine’s monthly “Sea Hero” for August, one of what the magazine describes as “everyday divers who make an extraordinary difference.” In case you haven’t seen it in the print edition, the story is now online – read it here. Her videos are part of what she talks about in the interview:

People protect what they love, but they must know it to love it. I remind myself of this when the weather is cold and the visibility is low. All the creatures, great and small, are worth filming and sharing, and that next bit of video I shoot may make the difference for one elected official, or inspire one little kid.

She also talks about the toxic-runoff-reduction campaign – take a look at 7 things you can do, especially important as winter (and inevitably more rain) approaches, washing what’s on the streets and in your yards right into Puget Sound.

West Seattle’s Morgan McCullough & USA Baseball National teammates going for World Cup gold

September 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 6 Comments

Just two weeks ago, we reported on West Seattle High School senior Morgan McCullough being chosen to join the USA Baseball 18U National Team, which was getting ready to defend the world title it won two years ago. Today, the team is hours away from the gold-medal game at that tournament in Osaka, Japan. They beat Canada 9-5 early today (the game started at 2 am our time) in a “tune-up” for the title game, which they earned their way into via a 6-5 victory over Cuba the day before. The title game is against Japan, at 2 am our time Sunday morning (aka, really late tonight) and you’ll be able to watch it live online if you’re up – via this Ustream channel, or check in on play-by-play tweets here. McCullough is the only player from the Northwest on the national-team roster.

ADDED SUNDAY: As noted in comments, USA won, 2-1!

Remembering ‘Don’ Greengo, 1928-2015, who ‘set a wonderful example for humanity’

September 4, 2015 at 11:56 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

The family of retired science teacher “Don” Greengo is sharing this remembrance with the community:

H. Donald “Don” Greengo, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died of natural causes, surrounded by loved ones, on June 4, 2015. Born October 15, 1928, in Waconia, MN, to Royal E. and Blanche I. (Downs) Greengo, he was the youngest of four boys. At the age of two, Don contracted polio, which affected the growth of his legs. He underwent several surgeries at Shriner’s Hospital throughout his childhood. Always having a positive outlook on life, he never complained.

As a teenager during the summer of 1945 he met his future wife and the love of his life, Gretchen Harvey. But life would first take them in different directions.

After graduating from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, with a Bachelors in Science, and further studies at Case Institute in Cleveland and the University of Washington in Seattle, he began teaching science (chemistry, physics, earth sciences, and math) in Anoka, MN. Despite using a cane to help with walking, Don traveled to Japan, the Middle East, India, and Europe, exploring different cultures. In the mid-1950s, Don took a job with the U.S. State Department to teach overseas, first in Japan at the Itazuke U.S. Air Force Base, and then at Habibia College in Kabul, Afghanistan. While still overseas, he learned through his sister-in-law that Gretchen was living in Seattle and was a widow with two small children. After returning to the U.S. in late 1958, he came to Seattle and a date was arranged for Don and Gretchen to meet. Don proposed to Gretchen after that first date and they married on July 17th, 1959.

Don began a career with the Seattle School District in 1959, teaching at Sealth, Nathan Hale, and finally, 18 years at West Seattle High School, where he was head of the Science Department, retiring in 1984. He was a favorite teacher of many students over the years. He garnered respect from his students because he treated them with respect, as he did with all people.

Don will be remembered by family and friends as a man of quiet strength, integrity, patience, and compassion. Don enjoyed traveling with his family, visiting relatives and the annual summer trips with Gretchen, their children and grandchildren. He loved to play games, tell corny jokes, and tell of his adventures overseas. He loved the Arts, going to many plays, ballets, and concerts, and he loved the outdoors. He had a great love for his family and they for him.

Don is survived by his wife Gretchen, of nearly 56 years; his children, Denise (Bugnon) (husband Ken) Reed, Paul Bugnon, Kevin Greengo, and Laurie Greengo; his grandchildren, Jennifer Reed, Stephanie (Reed) Olson, Owen Greengo; and great-grandchildren, Brennen and Peyton Olson; his brother Irving Greengo; and numerous nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank close family friend and nurse extraordinaire Keiko Hume for the compassionate and loving care she gave Don.

Don, we will miss you, your great sense of humor and love of life, your selflessness. and your love of family. You set a wonderful example for humanity. In lieu of flowers, the family requests you give a donation to a charity of your choice in Don’s honor. A celebration of Don’s life will be held at a future date; information for family and friends will be forthcoming.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Happy birthday, Maxine Bundy! Longtime West Seattleite is now a brand-new centenarian

August 31, 2015 at 10:26 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

Meet the woman who is likely the newest centenarian in West Seattle, Maxine Bundy. Today is the second day of her 101st year, and granddaughter Brietta Tatro shares the photo and announcement:

On August 30th, longtime West Seattle resident Maxine Bundy reached the venerable age of 100 years old. Born in Missouri in a small town on the Mississippi River, she moved to Seattle with her family, eventually settling in West Seattle as a young bride in the 1940’s; she has called our fair peninsula home ever since.

To celebrate this important milestone, family and friends gathered for a surprise birthday party this past Saturday afternoon and feted her with smiles, hugs, cakes, and song. The following morning, Maxine was honored at West Side Presbyterian Church by fellow church members. As a centenarian, Maxine is extraordinarily energetic and independent, enjoying lunch out with friends, shopping excursions to Southcenter, and trips with family members. Life continues to be a grand adventure for this remarkable woman. Happy Birthday, Maxine!

VIDEO: Duwamish Tribe chair face-to-face with U.S. Interior Secretary in West Seattle, report #2

August 31, 2015 at 5:31 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

Story, photos, and video by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Listening to Alaska Natives is the first thing on President Obama‘s schedule when he arrives in Alaska later today.

Listening to a Puget Sound Native leader is something his Interior Secretary probably didn’t expect to find herself doing in her West Seattle driveway while preparing to head north herself.

As first reported here on Saturday, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen went to Secretary Sally Jewell‘s North Admiral neighborhood with local activists hoping to deliver a letter seeking a meeting about Jewell’s department denying the tribe federal recognition two months ago. “Ruined my Fourth of July,” Hansen said about that July 2nd decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

After gathering a few houses away on Saturday morning, Hansen and the group trouped up the front steps of where they thought Jewell lived (when not in DC).

A man answering the door told them that wasn’t the house they were looking for but wouldn’t say which house that would be. So they then semi-rallied on the sidewalk, reading statements, until one group member spotted Jewell – loading items into a car trunk in a driveway across the street. Over went everyone – including Hansen, surprised. Here’s what happened in the ensuing four and a half minutes:

Though the short encounter was more cheery than confrontational, as you heard, Jewell made no commitment – referring repeatedly to the “complexity” of the recognition issue and mentioning other tribes’ “difference of opinion.” Hansen, asked afterward what she thought, pronounced what she heard to have been “political runaround.” Days after the July denial of recognition, she told media at the tribe’s West Seattle longhouse that she felt especially let down by Jewell.

At the time, there also were suggestions of a grass-roots citizen lobbying effort. That might hold promise, if what happened on Jewell’s street a few minutes later is any indication. A neighbor emerged from a garage a few houses east – one still decorated for what apparently had been a luau the night before – to ask what was going on. Within a blink, Hansen and the activists were gathered outside the garage, making their case to the neighbor and several others sitting inside.

Petitions were circulated. Right after that, we took our leave – the windstorm was kicking up (as you can hear in our video) and people were starting to text about tree trouble. Hansen had said her council would be meeting this week, and that a conversation was due to happen with the lawyer representing them in an ongoing court attempt to force the recognition issue. Seattle’s U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott has tried to push recognition via legislation, but it has idled.

Hansen also hopes to hear from Jewell, who told her she would be back in D.C. after Labor Day, and said she at least would convey the message to Kevin Washburn, her assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, during the Alaska trip, which she noted would be followed by a visit to Eastern Washington tribes. Meantime, since the Saturday encounter, Jewell has made headlines with a gesture to Alaska Natives, announcing that Mount McKinley would be renamed Denali, the name by which it is known to them. The matter of recognizing a tribe – in, as she noted on Saturday, the face of opposition by others – is not as simple.

Chair Hansen reiterated that the Duwamish are determined. Even before the short chat with Jewell, she mused that maybe if the feds remain reluctant, she could take her case to Pope Francis, who is headed to the U.S. in three weeks.

AHEAD: THE LETTER – Read on to see the letter that the activists brought to Jewell’s neighborhood on behalf of Hansen and the Duwamish people:

Click to read the rest of VIDEO: Duwamish Tribe chair face-to-face with U.S. Interior Secretary in West Seattle, report #2…

Duwamish Tribe chair takes recognition fight to Interior Secretary in West Seattle: Report #1

August 29, 2015 at 11:14 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 16 Comments

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)

Quick first report on this, since we’re going into storm coverage: Within the past hour, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen met U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell – whose department denied federal recognition to the Duwamish, again, two months ago – semi-unexpectedly. Hansen and representatives of two activist groups, the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites and Rising Tide Seattle, had gone to what they believed was Jewell’s North Admiral home to deliver a letter inviting her to meet with tribal leaders. (A representative of the groups, which issued a media advisory, told us last night they had no reason to believe Jewell was home from D.C., but they had decided to do this now anyway.)

At what they believed was the correct house, a man answering the door said it wasn’t. The group headed back to the sidewalk to read their letters of invitation anyway. Suddenly, a member of the group looked across the street and pointed to a woman loading items into the trunk of a car in a driveway, saying he was sure THAT was Secretary Jewell. Indeed, it was, and everyone trouped across the street. Jewell, a WS resident since her days as CEO of REI, stopped for a few moments to talk and listen, making no commitments on the issue, describing it as “complicated.” Hansen described that reaction afterward as “political runaround.” She says the tribe is taking their fight to court, again. We recorded this all on video and will publish it as part of a second report later.

Services Thursday morning for Gary L. Emmick, 1948-2015

August 26, 2015 at 9:30 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Services are planned tomorrow morning at Tahoma National Cemetery for U.S. Army veteran Gary L. Emmick. His family shares this remembrance:

Gary L. Emmick was born on September 11th, 1948 at St. Luke’s Hospital (later became Group Health) in Seattle. He passed away on Thursday, August 20th, 2015, at Highline Hospital in Burien after a lengthy illness.

Gary was a lifetime resident of the Burien/White Center area. He was a Sergeant in the Army who served in Germany from 1967 until 1971.

Son to Phyllis & Franklin Emmick, older brother to Craig Emmick, sister-in-law Gayle. Sons – Brian, Terry, Robert & Floyd. Nephews – Matthew & Michael. Grandson of the Late Floyd & Edith Roush. Nephew to Wayne Roush and Jim Roush. Predeceased by his father Frank in 2010.

Funeral services for Gary will be at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent on Thursday, August 27, 2015, at 11:30 am. Remembrances may be made to the Disabled Veterans of America or a charity of your preference.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle. Please share your memories of Gary on our online guestbook @

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

FOLLOWUP: Generous West Seattleites help kindhearted local students assist animal advocates

August 25, 2015 at 10:32 pm | In Pets, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

For the third year in a row, generous West Seattleites helped those two local students do a good deed for animals via their annual Seattle Humane-benefiting bake sale and donation drive. We photographed Muriel and Gwen on Sunday; David and Carey sent the followup tonight:

The girls raised over $300 and got nearly a full barrel of dog and cat food! West Seattle is awesome :)

Reader report: West Seattle fifth-grader’s half-marathon with dad

August 23, 2015 at 1:08 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 4 Comments

Big day for running! Just in from California – that photo and an update on young half-marathoner Miles Trius:

Miles Trius of West Seattle runs with dad again – at Santa Rosa (CA) 1/2 marathon this morning. He ran at 2:10:37. Running with his dad, Navy Chief Ernesto Trius, has become bonding time for father and son. Miles will start 5th grade at Our Lady of Guadalupe School.

Last December, as shown here, they ran the Seattle Marathon half.

Congratulations! Honors for West Seattle’s Boy Scout Troop 282

August 15, 2015 at 4:13 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

The photo and report are from Kevin McMahan:

West Seattle’s Boy Scout Troop 282 completed their annual summer outing at Fire Mountain Camp near Mount Vernon. The boys received the distinct recognition of Honor Troop, took first place in the camp wide Lake Challenge challenge, and won Best Baton design competition. The boys spent the week working on merit badges, team work, and honing their outdoor skills.

Troop 282 has a long history – going back into the 1940s.

Celebration of life next Sunday for Robert Markley, 1918-2015

August 9, 2015 at 6:39 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

A celebration of life is planned one week from today for Bob Markley, whose family is sharing this remembrance:

Robert “Bob” Markley, born in Montrose, Colorado, on March 2, 1918, passed away peacefully on July 30, 2015 – a full 97 years of life.

Bob grew up in the Richmond Highlands, graduated from Lincoln High School in 1936, and rose to Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After serving as the cook at the Perry Institute in Yakima, he settled in West Seattle, where he was an over-the-counter butcher, real-estate agent, tugboat cook, and public-health inspector. His passion was remodeling old homes, including the three he provided for his family. His diligence, tenacity, and enthusiasm conquered every challenge (including a midlife paralysis), making lifelong friends and acquaintances along the way.

Bob is survived by Bette, his wife of 72 years; his daughter Shannon, his sons Scott (Sally) and David (Jeanne), and his grandson Galen.

A celebration of his life will be held at The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way SW) on Sunday, August 16, 2015, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to The Kenney Foundation for the Resident Care Fund, 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW, Seattle, WA 98136-2008.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Remembering lifelong West Seattleite Earl M. Mickelson, 1925-2015

August 8, 2015 at 4:04 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

Earl M. Mickelson, a West Seattle native and lifelong resident, has died at age 89. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing:

Earl passed away at home at the age of 89 on July 31st. He would have turned 90 in September.

Earl was born to Christian and Martha Mickelson, both descendants of Norway, at West Seattle hospital. Earl spent his entire life in West Seattle; he was a graduate of West Seattle High School. He served in the United States Marine Corps, receiving an honorable discharge in 1946. He served for 27 years as a Seattle Department firefighter, retiring in 1974. Earl was very proud of his Norwegian heritage. He loved West Seattle and, after retirement, boasted about having no reason to cross the West Seattle Bridge.

Earl enjoyed time spent with his family and his many neighbors that he grew so fond of. For many years he was the neighborhood Block Watch captain. He took pride in his work overseeing the neighborhood and actually kicked a neighbor’s door down to save the life of a woman who collapsed and was trapped in her home.

Earl was very generous in donating to many charities over the years. He was the elder statesman for both the West Seattle Yacht Club and West Seattle Eagles. He was a longtime member of the American Legion. Earl is survived by his lovely wife of 65 years, Sylvia, whom he met on Alki Beach; his three children, Susan Scott (Daniel), Chris Mickelson (Kimberly), Bart Mickelson, and his four grandchildren, Shawna Clark (Steve), Christiana (George), Trine and Tristen Mickelson. Earl is survived by sister-in-law Beverly Alger and many nieces and nephews. His brothers and their spouses Kris (Janet) and Kenny (Marian) Mickelson are deceased. He was looking forward to his first great-grandchild, expected in February.

Earl’s feistiness and humor continued to the end and he will be missed by all his family and friends. He was always very macho and gruff but deep down he could be very compassionate and kind. He is remembered to many as a wonderful father, grandpa, father-in-law, firefighter, neighbor, husband, and friend. We want to thank his family and many caretakers over the past years and especially Mary Ikua (who referred to Earl as the commander), Maureen, and Susan (his most recent caregivers) and his neighbors, along with Station 29 of the Seattle Fire Department, for all their service over the years.

A celebration of life is planned at a later date. Services will be private. Memorials may be sent to the Medic One Foundation.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Remembering Charla Mustard-Foote, 1945-2015

August 7, 2015 at 8:59 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

“Today we lost another of our own.” So wrote a WSB Forums member last weekend, sharing news of the sudden passing of longtime participant/contributor Charla Mustard-Foote. The sentiment goes for the wider community as well; here is the remembrance Ms. Mustard-Foote’s family is sharing:

Charla Mustard-Foote passed away at her home in West Seattle on Sunday, August 2, 2015. Charla was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 12, 1945. She was the only daughter of Charles Foote and Velma Mustard. K-12 education occurred in Cambria, Michigan, and she graduated from the University of Iowa, in 1970 with a degree in Journalism.

After college, Charla worked as a reporter for several newspapers in the Midwest. In 1979 she moved to Lowell, Massachusetts, to work for the Digital Equipment Company in Boston as a Technical Writer, eventually becoming a Documentation Manager. She worked for several computer companies in the Boston area after that, moving to Sun Microsystems in 1993 as a Lead Technical Writer. At Sun, she rose through the ranks of management, transferred to Cupertino, California, in 1994 and was appointed Director of Product Integration in the company’s development group in 1998.

She met her husband, Robert Shields, in 1996 and they married in 1997. Together they moved to West Seattle in December 1999 so Charla could take a position with, then for the supercomputer manufacturer Cray Inc. Charla started her own consulting firm in 2003 and retired in 2010.

She was a busy professional woman, but she was an avid fan of blues and rock and roll. A voracious reader, she accumulated nearly 3,000 books. She was a Red Sox fan through and through, before changing her loyalty to the Mariners. Of course, the Seahawks were her favorite, even when they played the Patriots.

She is survived by her husband; her stepson Aaron Shields and his spouse Jennifer; and three grandchildren: Cole, Connor, and Katri Shields.

A memorial gathering will be held at a place and time to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Heifer International, Arbor Day Foundation, or a charity of your choice.

Please share your memories of Charla in the online guestbook at

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Memorial planned next Friday for Linda Ann Heimbigner, 1943-2015

August 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Linda Ann Heimbigner will be remembered in a service at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Friday. Here’s the remembrance her family is sharing:

Linda Ann Heimbigner, 72, of West Seattle, passed away on Monday, July 27, 2015, as a result of a long battle with cancer. Friends and family were by her side as the Lord called her home.

She was born on February 3, 1943, in Seattle to William and Constance Baccetti. She graduated from Holy Rosary School in West Seattle back when Holy Rosary was a grade school and high school combined. During her high-school years, she lost her father to a heart attack and later her mother to cancer. She continued to care for her brother, Fred, until he passed away in 1976. After high school, Linda went to work for the government. It was during this time she met Don Heimbigner. They were married on September 16, 1967.

Linda devoted much of her time to caring for her family and friends. She worked in the front office of Our Lady of Guadalupe School while her children attended school there. She passionately supported her children’s activities, especially soccer, which often included endless fundraising for travel throughout the Washington State, the U.S. and even Europe. She also loved to bake for her friends and family, never missing a special occasion.

She is survived by her husband of almost 48 years, Don; her children, Gina, John, and Joe; and her 5 grandchildren, Andrew, Gabriel, Nathan, Angelica, and Jordan. Her funeral will be held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in West Seattle on August 7, 2015 at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

What a ride! West Seattleite Joel Kampf arrives on Alki after pedaling cross-country for World Bicycle Relief

July 30, 2015 at 3:11 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 15 Comments

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
Joel Kampf just arrived home from a bike ride. A big bike ride – 4,500 miles. A big bike ride with a big achievement, raising money for World Bicycle Relief. And he got a big welcome:

Joel’s wife LaVonne Dorsey and friends showered him with champagne as he turned onto 53rd SW to head home. He’s been on the road for more than two months (read his chronicles here), so hugs and kisses were in order too:

Thanks to LaVonne for letting us know so we could be there for Joel’s big arrival. She shared this information about his ride for World Bicycle Relief, which started May 14th in Williamsburg, Virginia:

The goal is to bring bicycles to the developing world as engines for economic and cultural empowerment.

Having built and distributed over 230,000 bikes this year, their Educational Empowerment Program provides bikes to students (70% girls), teachers and education workers in rural Africa. With the ability to save time and shorten distances between schools and villages, the program dramatically improves grades and attendance rates after students receive bicycles. Other programs include a Healthcare effort that helps workers who would walk over 4 miles a day to visit four patients, visit 18 patients in a single day; (also) micro-finance, Environmental and social enterprise programs.

For $147, we can provide a World Bicycle Relief bicycle to a student in need. Every donation helps. Seattle is one of the most successful and supportive bicycle commuting cities in the country and we also realize the importance of cycling for recreation and good health.

Even more friends and family were waiting at Joel and LaVonne’s house for a welcome-home party. You can still donate, by the way, even though his journey’s done – here’s how.

Memorial planned next week for Robert ‘Bob’ Kacel, 1948-2015

July 27, 2015 at 6:43 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

A memorial is planned Tuesday, August 4th, for Bob Kacel, who died earlier this month at 66. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing:

Robert (Bob) Ernest Kacel, 66, passed away at home on July 10, 2015 after a long illness. Bob was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 18, 1948.

He graduated in 1966 from Osborn High School and continued on to receive a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Michigan in 1971.

Bob was married to Rebecca Kleen on August 12, 1972. They were married 42 years. Bob worked as an architect for the University of Michigan and then the State of Washington over a career of 44 years. He enjoyed a lifelong hobby of creative model-making and creating dioramas for which he won many awards. Bob was also actively involved in the Lutheran and Episcopal churches, and was a member of the Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity.

Bob is survived by wife Rebecca Kleen Kacel, daughters Melissa Kacel and Julia Kacel, grandchildren Adelle and Dane Leatherwood, brother Richard J. Kacel Jr., sisters Patricia Fischer, Nancy VerWest, and Cheryl Ahlborn, as well as other family and friends. Bob was preceded in death by his parents Richard J. Kacel and Gladys E. Kacel.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Swedish Cancer Institute and sent to Swedish Medical Foundation, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA, 98122.

The memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on August 4 at St John the Baptist Episcopal Church, 3050 California Ave SW, Seattle.

Please go here to see more pictures and to sign the online guest book.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

LETTER: Think before you honk – someone might need help

July 26, 2015 at 5:56 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 43 Comments

The WSB Forums are the usual place for standalone first-person rants/raves/opinions not linked to WSB news stories. But Jeannette‘s e-mail troubled us enough on multiple levels that we decided to share it here on the front page:

I was in an accident on Friday July 24th around 9 a.m at the intersection of Admiral and California. My new car of 4 days was rear-ended by a big construction-size dump truck while I was stopped at a red light.

The truck pushed me out a bit and I was hit in such a way that it was hard to move the car right away, I tried to get it together to get the car out of the way, and pull to the side. In doing this I was shocked at how many West Seattleites honked their horn sometimes leaning on it for me to get it out of the way. I couldn’t move and couldn’t drive very well and needed help; my car was badly damaged so it was obvious it was bad. Not one person stopped to see if they could help me in some way. I would do that in a heartbeat.

I have lived in W.S for 16 years and thought of it as a community, not so much right now. I needed an ambulance to take me to the hospital and am still in shock over all the people’s reactions, that I seemed to have interrupted their day.

I was hoping I could post to remind people to think of others and stop for a few minutes to help those that need it. 5 minutes won’t kill anyone. I can’t imagine driving by an accident like that and not stopping to offer assistance.

(We asked Jeannette how she’s doing now: Out of the hospital, she said, but still with a lot of neck and back pain.)

Memorial next Tuesday for Dolores ‘Dee’ Barnecut, 1926-2015

July 23, 2015 at 11:43 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

A memorial is planned next Tuesday for Dolores Barnecut, who died two weeks ago at 88. Here’s the remembrance her family is sharing:

Dolores M. Barnecut succumbed to cancer on July 9, 2015, surrounded by her family.

“Dee” was born in Seattle on July 26, 1926, and was the only daughter of the late George and Margaret Anderson. She graduated from West Seattle High School, Class of 1944, and she married her high-school sweetheart, Richard J. Barnecut, in 1947. Dick and Dee lived in West Seattle for the entirety of their 68-year marriage.

As the consummate wife, mother and homemaker, Dee was always in your corner and selfless in her commitment to those she loved. She was a happy person, humble to a fault, and she presided over a happy household.

Dee was a longtime member of St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in West Seattle, where she served on the altar guild. The family vacation home on Hood Canal was a special place for her. She was a loyal fan of Husky football and held season tickets for almost fifty years. As the nest emptied, Dee had the opportunity to evolve and nurture her artistic side, and she developed into an accomplished and prolific watercolorist.

Dee will be remembered for her devotion to her family, her sense of humor, and her tenaciously positive outlook on life. She was a purveyor of unconditional love before that term became fashionable, and she gave her children what all parents must: roots and wings. Mom was tired at the end but she faced her final illness pragmatically and with her characteristic wit, dignity, and toughness. She will be missed and never forgotten.

Dee is survived by her husband, Richard, four adult children and their spouses: Margaret (Paul) Abrahamson, James (Jamie) Barnecut, Mary Ellen (Ron) Smulski, and Andrew (Lisa) Barnecut. She is also survived by six grandchildren: Tom Smulski, Jill Smulski, Jenny Abrahamson, Rachel Barnecut, Nick Barnecut, and Angelina Barnecut.

A memorial service honoring Dee’s life will be held at St. John The Baptist Episcopal Church on Tuesday, July 28th at 3:00 p.m. with reception to follow at the parish hall. The church is at 3050 California Avenue SW. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the charity of your choice. Sign Dolores’s online Guest Book at and/or at

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Remembering ‘Big Steve’: Celebration of life Saturday for Stephen B. Murray, 1944-2015

July 21, 2015 at 9:00 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

A celebration of life is planned in West Seattle this Saturday for Steve Murray, whose family is sharing this remembrance with the community:

Stephen B. Murray, 70, passed away on July 6, 2015 at the UW Medical Center in Seattle, with the love of his life, Linda Mae, by his side.

Steve was born in Chicago on December 28, 1944 in the elevator at the hospital.

He left Chicago and moved to Seattle in 1968. Steve began his 40-year career in the natural gas industry in 1969 at the Washington Natural Gas Company, later to become Puget Sound Energy. The last 9 years of his career were spent at Pilchuck, a gas service provider.

Steve was an easy-going, very likable man, always quick with a clever quip, or a smart remark. His sense of humor could defuse many a situation. He never realized how many friends he really had.

Although a devoted Seahawks and Mariners fan, he never masked his love for the Chicago Blackhawks, and was an avid Chicago Cubs fan. When asked about the Cubbies, he used to say “someone’s gotta love ‘em.” He followed up his Cubs devotion with a bright blue and red tattoo on his arm of their logo. Watching hockey was a favorite pastime, and he always enjoyed golfing, and took more than a few golfing road trips.

But the true loves of his life were his family. And it was an extensive one, spread from coast to coast.

Steve is survived by wife and best friend of 34 years, Linda; his daughters, Jennifer (Johnson) and her husband Mike, Amanda (Mason) and her husband Doug, and son Spencer and his wife Jessica (Sutyla), as well as 7 grandchildren.

He leaves behind his siblings, brother Mike and sister-in-law Judy, sister Mary Pat (Arostegui) and brother-in-law Vince, brother Mark, brother John and sister-in-law Connie, sister Maureen (Carlson) and brother-in-law Mark, and brother Matthew and sister-in-law April (Cody). Stephen also leaves many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Steve was preceded in death by his parents, John and Patricia, and his oldest brother, Jerry, in 2014.

A Celebration of Life will be held in West Seattle on Saturday, July 25th, from 12 – 3 p.m. at 6040 California Ave SW.

Please come, share your condolences, share a story, share your favorite Steve(ism), and share a laugh.

If we could all be as nice to people as Big Steve was, the world would be a better place.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

Congratulations! West Seattle’s Alina Guyon chosen to become a Girl-Up Teen Advisor

July 20, 2015 at 9:52 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

That’s Alina Guyon, a West Seattleite chosen by the United Nations Foundation to be a Teen Advisor for Girl-Up. She is one of 20 girls chosen, and the only girl from Washington State. More about what she’s doing:

Girl-Up advocates for adolescent girls in developing nations; they focus on the countries where it is hardest to be a girl. They stress the importance of education for girls, health and safety.

To become a teen advisor, a girl first needs to be nominated by someone from outside her family. A letter is submitted to describe why the applicant would be a good candidate, and describes her past experience advocating for girls in developing nations. Girl-Up then selects 100 girls to complete an extensive application, including essays, videos and photos.

Why focus on adolescent girls? Statistics show that investing in girls between the ages of 12-15 has tremendous long-term benefits. A girl who is educated is less likely to be married as a child; she will have a better income and can provide for her family. She is more likely to value education for her children, which breaks the cycle of extreme poverty. Adolescent girls are agents of change.

Alina’s first task was to travel to Washington DC for a United Nations Leadership Summit. She even met First Lady Michelle Obama after her talk supporting Girl-Up. In the coming year, Alina will advocate for policy change on behalf of adolescent girls, meet with our state representatives and senators, and encourage students to start Girl-Up clubs. Girl-Up clubs meet to raise awareness of girls rights and support girls who need it the most.

If you are interested in learning more, go to Contact if you have any questions or are interested in starting a Girl-Up club.

‘Music is worthwhile’: Donn Weaver, who proved that for decades, to accept Orville Rummel Trophy at tonight’s Concert in the Park

July 14, 2015 at 1:04 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

(At right in our video, Donn Weaver directing the WS Big Band at 2013′s Concert in the Park)

By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.” – President Obama

When Donn Weaver, the 2015 recipient of the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Community, received as a seventh grader the gift of a trumpet from his older brother, he certainly could never have imagined he would someday be honored for sharing his love of music with the West Seattle community.

Yet, honored shall he be, at tonight’s Hi-Yu Concert in the Park featuring the West Seattle Big Band, an organization for which Weaver served as director from its inception in 1996 until stepping down this past winter, and then he’ll carry the trophy in this Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade, whose committee chooses the honoree.

The band initially was formed as a collection of a “baker’s dozen” of band alumni brought together to play at a West Seattle High School reunion.

“They asked for a band to play, so we contacted as many former members as we could. We had a rehearsal and played the reunion,” recalls Weaver. “At the end of the reunion, they got together in a huddle in the lunchroom and they told me they decided they wanted to have the band keep going. So I thought, “Well, we’ll just make it into a swing band,” and it’s been going ever since.”

The all-volunteer band quickly grew into the 18-piece unit that has been entertaining crowds throughout West Seattle ever since, while also raising thousands of dollars for the music programs of local public schools.

Born in Onalaska in southwest Washington, Weaver first arrived in Seattle to attend the University of Washington. where he earned his BA in music education in 1954. His career eventually brought him to West Seattle High School, where he taught from 1966 until 1978.

When Weaver first started at WSHS, there were just eleven students in the band. By the time Weaver moved on to new challenges, taking him to Franklin, Rainier Beach, and Ingraham high schools, the program was flourishing with more than 80 members.

“It was phenomenal how it blossomed,” says Weaver, downplaying his own role in helping build the school’s program. “High-school kids love a challenge.”

One person who does not underestimate Weaver’s contributions to not only the WSHS program, but also to the community at large, is former student Jim Edwards, who worked closely with Weaver in the West Seattle Big Band before succeeding his mentor as its director (he’s also a Rummel Trophy recipient, with wife Barbara Edwards, in 1998).

“Donn’s years at West Seattle High School, while a paid position, are not representative of your normal band director,” says Edwards. “He had a record of building strong programs wherever he taught. In 1978, his last year at West Seattle, his combined instrumental performing groups had a total of 72 performances out of a 180-day school year.”

It was Edwards, a member of the West Seattle Parade Committee and longtime co-coordinator of the parade, who nominated Weaver for the Orville Rummel Trophy before recusing himself from the decision-making process due to the long-term personal ties between the two men that has spanned several decades.

“When I first knew Jim, he was in elementary school and in the summer music program,” says Weaver. “I used to get a kick out of him because the trombone he played was bigger than he was!”

While there may be no more-fitting testimony to Weaver’s legacy than to have a former student nominate him for a prestigious community award while also continuing his work with the Big Band, Weaver always defers to the power of the music to move young and old alike, as seen repeatedly at his many performances.

“Music is worthwhile,” says Weaver. “If someone asked me to prove it was worthwhile, I wouldn’t know what to tell them, but I have seen it.”

You can applaud Donn Weaver for his decades of community service at tonight’s Concert in the Park – again, 7 pm, east lawn of Hiawatha (2700 California SW, but the concert’s on the Walnut side), free! – and when he rides in the West Seattle Grand Parade on Saturday, starting 11 am from California/Lander and proceeding southbound along California to the south end of The Junction at Edmunds.

ABOUT THE ORVILLE RUMMEL TROPHY: It’s named after the man who founded the parade in 1934, Orville Rummel – lots of background in the story we published the year we were honored with it, in 2010. The award was first presented in 1984. Click ahead for the full list of recipients from 1984 through 2015:
Click to read the rest of ‘Music is worthwhile’: Donn Weaver, who proved that for decades, to accept Orville Rummel Trophy at tonight’s Concert in the Park…

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