West Seattle, Washington
Almost two weeks have gone by since word that Lou Magor had died. Comments on our April 16th story included photos and memories from many whose lives he had touched and enriched, not only in his role running Kenyon Hall, but also as a performer and teacher. We promised to let you know when we heard of memorial plans, Here’s the first word we’ve received, from Pastor Paul Corner of Wallingford United Methodist Church, where Mr. Magor served as music director,
We at Wallingford United Methodist Church were discussing how best to remember Lou, and we thought his life was too big to try to do a comprehensive celebration of his life in a short amount of time that would include all the various communities which he was such a vital part of. (Tilden, Kindermusik, Kenyon Hall, Bach Choir, the Total Experience Gospel Choir, and others.) We also know that singing (and a lot of it) will need to be as part of that more complete celebration.
Because of COVID and the amount of planning that will be involved, that wider-focused celebration will need to wait a few months when it will be safe to gather in person and sing, but we are looking forward to working with those communities to that end. We do not have any date in mind as of yet, as that will need to be worked out with all these groups.
In the meantime, since Lou was our Music Director for 30 years, our church community has decided to have an online memorial service for him on Saturday, May 15, at 11 am that will focus more specifically on his life in our community. It will be on our church YouTube page, with a “coffee hour” to follow on Zoom. (This is the format we have been using for worship all through the pandemic.). As with our Sunday morning services, all are welcome to it.
The coalition with which Mr. Magor operated Kenyon Hall, Seattle Artists, has a tribute and biography on the hall’s website. Regarding the hall’s future, they note, “Even as we mourn the loss of a truly elegant musician who was our great friend, leader, and mentor, we dedicate ourselves to the task of moving forward as an organization with thoughtfulness, care, and joy. It will be difficult without him, but we will work especially hard to share his legacy and bring back as much joy as possible.”
Though his accomplishments are many, Lou Magor‘s West Seattle neighbors may know him best as the keeper of Kenyon Hall, the historic event venue at 7904 35th SW. Suddenly, the hall is without its hero, as Mr. Magor has died at age 75. His death was announced today by the pastor of Wallingford United Methodist Church, where he served as music director.
Mr. Magor shared his talents far and wide, also as longtime accompanist of the renowned Total Experience Gospel Choir, and as a Kindermusik teacher for the littlest visitors to Kenyon Hall, which started its life as the Olympic Heights Social Hall more than a century ago. In Mr. Magor’s years of managing the hall, it has not only showcased the circa-1929 “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ that it houses, but has also seen performances by musicians and actors from unassuming community groups to superstar Eddie Vedder (who played two semi-secret shows there in 2008). The hall also hosted many fundraising galas for local nonprofits, especially those whose performances benefited from its excellent acoustics. More recently, Mr. Magor kept Kenyon Hall going through the pandemic shutdown by presenting a series of online events that also served as fundraisers for the nonprofit operation. Beyond his work, as the pastor’s announcement of Mr. Magor’s passing noted, he was known for his personality: “It is his warmth, laughter, friendship, and presence that we will perhaps miss the most.” We will update when we learn of memorial plans.
ADDED: Thanks to everyone sharing memories in comments. We also received this video link from Bob – it’s a TV-news report from 1989, when Mr. Magor coached a California crowd through a sing-along “Messiah”:
MONDAY: A tribute to Mr. Magor is now on the Kenyon Hall website.
Most of the obituaries we publish are for people, but we have occasionally received and published remembrances in memory of pets (including our own last year). This is from Tony:
I don’t think people freely speak enough about the depth of grief we feel we lose a pet. The loss is profound because it’s not only a beloved family member who is with you day in and day out, but it’s a little life that we care for, and tend to, from start to finish. But, they take care of us too.
In 2008, Millie, a Border Collie mix, was found running wild on the side on Interstate 5 in Skagit County. She was rescued by Northwest Organization for Animal Help (NOAH) in Stanwood, after what was likely an exhausting game of chase. Somewhat emaciated but in otherwise good health, the estimated 2 year old pup was quickly adopted by her forever people and brought to live in Seattle.
In her younger years, Millie enjoyed chewing up shoes, running and hiking with her people, chasing balls without bringing them back, barking at every other dog she saw (only wanting a sniff), and running for hours on the beaches in northern Puget Sound.
Throughout her entire life, she had an affinity for eating the droppings of other animals, particularly cats and rabbits, and rolling in the smelliest things she could find (particularly dead fish), embedding the scent deep into her thick double coat. She was also well known for her “I do what I want” attitude and letting everyone know that with her distinctly unique, absolutely shrill bark. In her later years, she enjoyed casual walks with her people, lying at their feet, and taking naps in the Lamb’s Ear in the backyard garden.
Most of all, she was a deeply affectionate dog who showed nothing but selfless devotion and love to her people, serving as their rock from early adulthood to nearly middle age. She was fortunate enough to peacefully pass away with painless intervention, in the comfort of her own home in the embrace of her people, after nearly nine months of progressing degenerative myelopathy.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
Family and friends are remembering Ralph Heitt and sharing this with his community:
Ralph Leon Heitt
1932 – 2021
Ralph died January 21 (age 88) at Swedish Hospital, Cherry Hill, following a heart attack and stroke. His wife Betty was grateful to be at his side during his final hours and extends sincere thanks for the sensitive and excellent care Ralph received in the Swedish neuro and cardio units.
Ralph was born in Bonners Ferry, ID to Ralph and Edna (Walters) Heitt. He was preceded in death by his parents and former wives, Pat (son Greg) and Marie (daughters Sue, Pam, Betsy, Andrea, Annette). In addition to his loving wife Betty (Williams), he is survived by his devoted son Greg (wife Betsie and daughter Kathleen) of San Diego, CA; two brothers, Jerry (wife Mary) and Don of Tekoa, WA: and his loving extended family, Betty’s sister Margie and husband John, with sons Matt (wife Sarah, children Brooke and Ridge) of Naches, WA; and Steve (wife Erin, children Lucy and Katherine) of Durham, NH; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
As an Episcopalian, Ralph was an active member, serving on vestries and/or acting as church handyman, also volunteering with a church thrift shop and making sandwiches with Northwest Harvest. In 2007, he and Betty joined other church volunteers to prepare damaged homes in New Orleans for reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina. Their current church family, St. Clements in the Mt. Baker neighborhood, has been very caring and supportive.
Ralph proudly served with the US Navy in the Seabees (CB – Construction Battalion), building construction projects at Subic Bay, Philippines. His Seabee training served him well in his lifetime career as a land surveyor and construction project inspector; working for Entranco Engineers and several cities in Washington. His work also took him to Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, and Oregon.
For many years Ralph enjoyed playing golf with a weekly foursome. At home he was an avid reader, enjoyed DIY projects in and around his home, crewed on sailboats out of Shilshole Bay Marina, skied in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Canada. In 1981, as an early celebration of his 50th birthday, he climbed Mt. Rainier with dear friend (and matchmaker) Ed Berschinski,. His love of the outdoors probably began with stream fishing in Idaho in his youth with his parents and brothers. He enjoyed camping, white-water rafting on Washington rivers, and hiking with family and friends, especially at Mt. Rainier, where he and Betty were married.
During their 40+ years together, Ralph and Betty enjoyed many travel adventures. These included: garden tours of England, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Italy; touring the canals of Venice; hot air ballooning over Cappadocia in Turkey; snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea off Costa Rica; snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; shopping for cigars in Havana, Cuba; soaking in the Blue Lagoon and seeing the Aurora Borealis in Iceland; a trans-Atlantic cruise – South Hampton to New York on the Queen Mary 2; swimming with turtles in Hawaii; viewing exotic animals in New Zealand, Australia, and Tasmania.
Ralph loved holidays – putting up decorations for Easter, Halloween, and Christmas – to the delight of neighborhood children and the child in himself. He enjoyed parties with friends – whether casual, costumed, or formal – always a good sport – whether serious or silly. Ralph was a good man who treated people with warmth, respect, and sincere caring. He will long be remembered and loved by many as the guy with a great laugh, a warm smile, and a cheerful disposition.
Living in West Seattle for several decades was a great pleasure for Ralph. He enjoyed morning coffee at the Morgan Thriftway (with friends nicknamed the Seattle Seniles); he and Betty exercised and swam at the West Seattle YMCA and participated with Seattle Indivisible as citizen activists. They also volunteered with Seal Sitters to protect young Harbor Seals on Alki and other local beaches. A favorite activity together was monthly dancing at the Senior Center.
“I shall take you by the hand and we will dance for joy in heaven
with all the saints and angels who will rejoice at your coming.” – Margery Kempe
A memorial/celebration of Ralph’s life will be scheduled at a later date; post Covid. Memorial donations may be made in Ralph’s name to Northwest Harvest or Seal Sitters.
Share Memories and Photos of Ralph on the Tribute Page at www.emmickfunerals.com/obituary/Ralph-Heitt
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Family and friends are remembering Paul Appenbrink, and sharing this with his community:
Paul E. Appenbrink made his final train ride to heaven on March 21, 2021.
Paul was born on August 26, 1940 in Moweaqua, Illinois. He graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois, with a business degree in marketing in 1964. Prior to following his lifelong dream of working with the railroads, Paul was in sales and marketing for various shipping lines in the Midwest. In 1991 he started with AMTRAK in Chicago, becoming a conductor in 1993. His love of the Pacific Northwest drew him to Seattle in 1996, finding a position with AMTRAK as conductor. He retired from AMTRAK in 2008 but never really retired from his abiding love for all things “trains.”
Paul was a long-time, active member of the West Side Presbyterian Church in Seattle and was involved in two men’s Bible Studies. He volunteered at the West Seattle Food Bank. His many friends knew him as a great storyteller, having a story at the ready for any occasion.
He will be greatly missed by his ten nieces and nephews, John, Sally, Jessie Ann, Jac, Dave, Martha, Laurie, Jane, Linda, and Anita. He was preceded in death by his parents, infant brother, sisters Gloria and Edna, and brother Dave.
Memorials may be given to West Side Presbyterian Church in Seattle at 3601 California Avenue SW, Seattle, Washington, 98116 and the West Seattle Food Bank at 3419 SW Morgan St, Seattle, Washington 98126 or donor’s choice.
A private family service will be held at a later date.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
Family and friends are remembering Ruth DeGabriele, whose 100th birthday was noted here last year. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing now:
June 13, 1920 – February 21, 2021
Ruth was born on a farm near Frankfort, Kansas, on June 13th, 1920. She grew up in a family of two sisters and 4 brothers. She was 17 years old when the “Dust Bowl” hit the plains and forced the family to sell the farm. They loaded up their truck with all of their belongings and headed west, first to California, where they worked the fields picking beets, cherries, and hops, and then apricots in Oregon, where they eventually settled.
After graduating from Woodburn High School in 1938, Ruth went to Portland to participate in a New Deal government program offering young women the chance to learn marketable skills, a dormitory in which to live, and help in job placements. She taught volleyball for a few months at a recreation center before being recommended for a position as a live-in nanny and housekeeper for a family with two young girls.
At age 20, she moved to Portland, living in the Washington Hotel, becoming the first woman bellhop of the city.
“They couldn’t get any boys, because of the war,” she recalled. “They were looking for boys, and I said, ‘I can do it.’ It was a fun job.” A year later, she moved to Seattle to work at Boeing’s Protection Plant Department, fingerprinting for the FBI and processing photo badges for the next 10 years. Occasionally, she was also asked to be a photo model for some of Boeing’s advertising and promotional pieces.
Al entered her life in 1946, when she lived in an apartment above the West Seattle grocery store he started with his twin brother. It was the IGA store located in N. Admiral, “Ray & Al’s Fine Foods.” They remained as West Seattleites for years and are survived by four children, 5 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Ruth found life-long friends at her church, Seattle First United Methodist Church, and remained a member for 74 years; she was the Wedding Hostess/Food Service Director. She orchestrated many large weekly dinners and coordinated over 500 weddings. She also directed the food services at Camp Indianola and later served on its Site Council Board.
She volunteered for many organizations, including Children’s Orthopedic Hospital, Chief Seattle Scouting Council, and Seattle’s Juvenile Court Diversion Program, counseling many young struggling teens. She also was a champion of voting rights and continually advocated for our civic duty. She said, “It’s a privilege to be in this country and be able to vote. So many people aren’t registered that really should be.”
She will be remembered for her smile, sense of style, and love of color – especially turquoise.
Martha “Marty” McLaren, a past West Seattle/South Park representative on the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors, has died. Ms. McLaren, a Puget Ridge resident, was 76 years old. She was a longtime educator and community advocate, but her highest-profile role was that of board member. She won election in 2011 by unseating incumbent Steve Sundquist and then four years later was unseated herself by current board member Leslie Harris. We talked with Ms. McLaren after her election in 2011; she spoke of her teaching career following her involvement with advocacy as a PTA leader while her children were in school. More details on her life are in her obituary, which we’ve just received:
Marty McLaren (Martha Louise McLaren) lived from April 23, 1944, to March 13, 2021.
In Brooklyn, New York, Marty was born into the family of her mother, Marta B. McLaren, and US Naval officer William F. McLaren. She was the fourth of six children.
In early life, she lived on the east coast of the US, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the Mojave Desert, and San Diego, and moved to the Bangor Naval Base in Kitsap County at 14. When she was 17, the family moved to Seattle, where she lived most of her adult life. She was blessed with resources to graduate from the UW and had some interesting travels in her life, to Europe in 1967, to South America in 1969, and in 2002 to Ghana.
She was married for 17 years to Ted Kehl, and together they had four beautiful children — Catherine, Andrea, who died at 18 months, Lauren, and Samuel, who died in 2019 at 37. Motherhood and children became the most important and meaningful aspects of her life.
After her divorce, Marty earned a teaching credential. She taught preschool for several years, had an eye-opening 19-month stint at Family Services Homeless Children’s Network in the mid-’90s, and went on to teach middle- and high-school mathematics.
In 1994 she moved from the family home on Capitol Hill to the newly forming Puget Ridge Cohousing Association in West Seattle. Her cohousing community became an anchor and presence in Marty’s life. As the community grew and struggled to create itself, she also grew and found herself in fertile soil for developing and extending her interests and passions. Most important, she learned to cherish the opportunity to connect with others and understand them and herself more deeply.
She was moved to advocate strenuously for a return to “sane” math curricula in K12 schools, and her activism led to her running successfully for the Seattle School Board in 2011. She served on the board through 2015 with a deep commitment to students and to dismantling structural racism.
Marty loved to dance, to sing, to bicycle, and, in later years, to row crew. She was involved in various communities that fed her thirst for spiritual connection — including the Dances of Universal Peace, and the Somatic study of the Enneagram, and earlier, St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s parishes.
She dealt with cancer in 1987, 2013, 2018, and in late 2020, learning to join an attitude of acceptance with her passion to live authentically. She was blessed most abundantly with loving, caring friends and family, who held her with great tenderness to the end of her life.
She is survived by her daughters, her grandson Tracy, her brothers Jerome, William and Alfred, her sister Georgia, and her niece Scotti. Due to COVID restrictions, there will not be a formal commemoration.
Family and friends are remembering Eugene ‘Gene’ Merritt, and sharing this remembrance with his community:
Gene was born June 4th, 1956 in West Seattle, and he spent his life here. He was the first of five children born to Roy and Theda Merritt.
Every summer and fall, you could find Gene fishing for salmon and trout, or otherwise out bow-hunting or golfing – he loved being out in nature. Another one of his passions was making arrowheads out of obsidian and rock. He often gifted his wife Tery with fishing poles and golf clubs, to entice her to join him on his adventures. They also traveled the world together, visiting many countries. His favorite spot was Manual Antonio, Costa Rica.
Gene was known for his great sense of humor, infectious smile, vivid storytelling, and compassionate spirit. His endless humor and wit, and his kindness to everyone, will always be remembered. He was a fun-loving and faithful friend. His life’s motto appeared to be, “Rules were made for those who need them.” Gene definitely did not.
Gene graduated from West Seattle High School in 1974 and received his Associate Degree from Highline Community College. He retired from the Boeing Company in 2016 after working as a Machinist for 36 years.
Gene was preceded in death by his father, Leroy Merritt; mother, Theda Chapin Merritt; and stepson Kyle Sevier. Gene is survived by his wife of 25 years, Tery Webster Merritt; stepdaughter Patricia Hoolahan (Randy) and stepson Cody Sevier; grandchildren Camrin (Gwen), Samara (Aaron), Aly, Rhian, and William. Gene is also survived by his siblings Dana (Lisa) Merritt, Dan (Cheryl) Merritt, Debbie (Dan) Blagovich, and Paula (Mike) Merritt, and many nephews and nieces.
On February 22nd, 2021 at the age of 64, Gene succumbed to the effects of COVID-19 after enjoying a lifelong personal relationship with God. His life was a testimony to the love and grace of his heavenly Father. Gene passed away peacefully in his sleep at Harborview Hospital.
Family and friends are remembering Helene Young, and sharing this with her community:
Helene Louise Young
June 10, 1938 – February 25, 2021
Helene was born June 10th, 1938, to John and Louisa (nee Vandenbergh) Fisher, in Albany, New York. She attended public schools in Albany, and after graduation, worked in the law offices of John T. Garry. In August of 1958, Helene married Robert J. Rose of Stony Point, New York. Soon after, Helene and Bob moved to Seattle, where Bob began a long career with The Boeing Company. Helene and Bob were delighted with their family of “rosebuds” – Mary, Jennifer and Elizabeth. Helene was a room mother, a homemaker, and a kind and loving neighbor to many in West Seattle.
After 20 years, Helene and Bob’s marriage ended in divorce, and she later married The Rev. Don Young. She then added to her family, Don’s children – Richard, Timothy, Jason and Susan. Helene and Don enjoyed working together in Real Estate for several years, primarily in West Seattle. For years they enjoyed walking in Lincoln Park, sailing on Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, and their property on Guemes Island.
Feeling the call to return to ministry, Helene and Don moved to Tacoma to serve the Lakeview Congregational Church (United Church of Christ.) While living in Tacoma, Helene completed her Bachelor’s degree. Tired of the Northwest weather and ready for a change, they relocated to Sierra Vista, Arizona, where Helene earned a Master’s Degree. She taught Life Skills at Cochise College for several years and was also a substitute teacher in the Sierra Vista area. Following Don’s death, Helene moved back to Washington state to be near her children. Although her recent health limited her from enjoying many activities that she loved, she maintained a positive spirit all of her days. She never met a stranger, and will be missed by many, many people. Helene especially loved gardening, reading, church activities, and Democratic politics.
She was predeceased by her parents, her stepfather (Norman Wirz), her brother (John Fisher), her husband (Donald L. Young), and Don’s son (Richard.) She is survived by Mary Toal (Richard), Jennifer Arkills (Jim), Elizabeth Tuohy (Mike), Tim Young (Li), Jason Young (Toni), and Susan Young. She is also survived by grandchildren Kevin, Kelly, Brandon, Anna, Kate, Ryan, Matthew, Abigail, Hailey, Lane, Elliot, and Conner, and her extended family scattered around the country.
The family would like to extend their appreciation for the loving care Helene received her last months at the Springwell Adult Family Home in Renton, as well as the many services provided through Providence ElderPlace Northwest.
A memorial gathering will be scheduled for this summer, when the strawberries are in season. Memorial gifts may be directed to Providence ElderPlace Northwest, 4515 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Suite 100, Seattle, Washington 98108
You are invited to share memories and messages by visiting www.emmickfunerals.com/obituary/Helene-Young
Arrangements by Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
Family and friends are remembering John Picinich, and sharing this with the community:
John Picinich, 71, a longtime resident of West Seattle who retired to Las Vegas, passed away on February 23, 2021.
He was born December 19, 1949 in Tacoma to John and Johanna Picinich. He found the love of his life at the age of 20 in West Seattle, when he married Carol Ewing.
John attended West Seattle High School.He went on to become a marine pipefitter and commercial fisherman. John was a member of Local 32 Plumbers & Pipefitters Union and worked at various shipyards in Seattle for many years. He fished for salmon in Alaska and the San Juans. and was the co-owner of the F/V Joanna.
John loved spending time with his family and friends and preparing Croatian dishes for them. He was known for his sense of humor and love of music.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carol; his sons Jason, Jeff (Moran), and Cameron Picinich. His nine grandchildren: Jacob, Nicole, Molly, Madeline, Maya, Macey, Lily, Julian, and Jamesin, all of who brought him great happiness. He is also survived by his sister Joanne (Mike) Holmes, brother Dave (Wendy) Picinich, and many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are remembering John E. Kelly and sharing this with his community:
John Edward Kelly
John E. Kelly set sail peacefully on a Heaven-bound adventure February 20, 2021, age 99. He was born June 7, 1921 to John and Eileen Kelly in their West Seattle home.
Growing up, he enjoyed many hours on the beaches and waters of Puget Sound. He joined the Sea Scouts as a youth, expanding his skills in sailing and vessel operations.
He graduated from West Seattle High School in 1939, then trained in boat building. He joined the Army in 1943, serving aboard the Hains, an Army Corps of Engineers ship, in the Pacific Theater. His early maritime experience served him well.
After WW II, he married Elizabeth Hamilton, with whom he raised four children and built their first house. He studied at the University of Washington and moved into professional life as a naval architect/marine engineer, retiring after 33 years at MARCO Seattle Shipyard. After Elizabeth’s death he married Jackie Carey, who joined him in a busy retirement, traveling and staying involved with family and many community interests.
Those interests included active membership in the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, Southwest Seattle Historical Society, West Seattle Lions Club, local museums, and Sea Scouts, where he volunteered with the SSS Yankee Clipper and area scouting for more than 80 years. His passion for history also included family genealogy, and in his last years, he enjoyed organizing material on the Kenney Home where he lived.
He was a member of West Side Presbyterian Church for 75 years and lived out his Christian faith through thousands of small choices that added up to a life highly respected by family and friends. His children lovingly remember him as a moral, giving, and gentle man who they never heard say a harsh word or speak ill of anyone.
He is survived by his children Gaile Walsh (Jim), Bob, and Tim (Janis); grandchildren Candace, Tara, Sean, Ryan, Stephen, and Victoria; two great-grandchildren; his brother David (Jeanne); 11 nieces and nephews; and extended family. He was preceded in death by wife Elizabeth, son Bill, and wife Jackie.
Memorial donations are suggested to The Kenney Foundation Resident Care Fund or any of the organizations he enjoyed so much.
Share memories of John with his family on the Tribute Page at www.emmickfunerals.com/obituary/John-Kelly.
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
The family of Jill S. Knapp will gather for her memorial this Friday, and are sharing this remembrance with the community:
Jill Suzanne (Saeger) Knapp passed away at the age of 65 on January 28, 2021.
Jill was born on April 13, 1955, in West Seattle to Beverly (Allen) and John Saeger back when the West Seattle Hospital was located in the West Seattle Junction. She was raised not far from where she was born, in the 37th and Dakota neighborhood and later up on 42nd and Dawson. She attended Jefferson Elementary, Madison Junior High, and West Seattle High School, graduating with the class of 1973. She had a passion for art and had fond memories of art class with Mr. Marta.
Jill’s first marriage was at the house on 42nd St and resulted in her oldest daughter, Jessica Mousset, in 1977. Jill then met and married Tony Knapp, who she commonly referred to as “her Tony,” in 1987, and together they had her youngest daughter, Julia Knapp.
Jill worked in the medical field beginning in her early 20s, starting at Virginia Mason hospital and then at Dr’s Springer and Ford’s office in West Seattle.
They moved to Port Orchard in 1988, but Jill continued her commute by ferry to work in West Seattle until her youngest was born in June of 1989. She then went to work for the Doctor’s Clinic in Bremerton and Silverdale for 27 years. She never completely left her roots in West Seattle and continued frequent visits with family and lifelong friends.
She was a loving, devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother, and friend. She loved every holiday, especially Halloween. She loved giving gifts; the most special and cherished were the ones she made by hand. She loved lunch dates, family gatherings, and her art. She loved every living creature, but mostly her cats. Her cats were just like her children to her. Every friend and loved one has gifts, cards, and art made by her. She always showed her love in everything she did and put others first no matter what. She was truly an angel on earth, and she will be missed my many. Her mystical, magical love will live on in our hearts always.
She was preceded in death by both her parents – most recently her mother, Beverly, who she cared for in her elderly years. She was also preceded in death by her sister, Jeanne, who passed away in 2001. She is survived by her husband of 33 years, Tony Knapp; two daughters, Jessica (David) Cook of Port Orchard and Julia (Alex) Rosen of Bremerton; Her brother Robert (Casey) Saeger of Las Vegas; Six grandchildren (and the lights of her life) – Shayne, Haley, Matthew, David, Quinn, and Dean; three nieces, Nichole (Darron) Forsell of West Seattle, Marina and Danica Saeger of Las Vegas, and her great-niece and great-nephews, Alyssa, Trevor, and Brandon Forsell.
Due to regulations regarding COVID, a small family service is planned for Friday, February 26, 2021 at Forest Lawn Cemetery in West Seattle. A link to the live stream of her service can be found on Forest Lawn’s website on the morning of her service.
Family and friends are remembering Robert (Bob) Brongil, and sharing this remembrance with his community:
With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of a beloved father, brother, husband, grandfather, and friend. Bob had an unfortunate battle with cancer that he eventually succumbed to on January 30, 2021. He fought every step of the way because he knew how important he was to his family and friends, who loved him dearly.
Bob was raised on Mercer Island, to Frank and Ramona Brongil. He attended Mercer Island High School and continued his schooling at the University of Puget Sound where he earned his Business degree. After that, he started his own successful construction business. Bob loved to travel, especially snowbirding in Mexico. He was born and raised to a strong Catholic family who was grounded in their faith and he continued that tradition by being an usher at Our Lady of Guadalupe.
He leaves behind his wife Judith Brongil, daughters McKenzie Walsh (Chris Walsh) and Brita Brongil (Shaq Blair), grandsons Kelton and Casen Walsh, granddaughters Evi and Kapri, sister Kathy Stevens (Jeremy and Lindsey), and brother Gary Brongil (Marilyn North), and several other loving family members and friends.
A funeral mass will be celebrated privately at Our Lady of Guadalupe. A celebration of life will be held at a future date to honor Bob’s life. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Our Lady of Guadalupe church in West Seattle.
Family and friends are remembering Kenneth M. Lowthian, and sharing this remembrance with his community:
Kenneth McDonald Lowthian was born on October 14, 1926 in Seattle. He passed away on January 24, 2021. Ken lived his whole life in West Seattle.
He was a graduate of West Seattle High School, the University of Washington, did graduate work at the U of W College of Education, and participated in a program for Urban Executives at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ken spent his career working for the City of Seattle, and was Superintendent of the Water Department when he retired in 1987.
He served on the Board of Directors at The Kenney, the board of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of the American Water Works Association, and the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He was an active member of the Rotary Club of Seattle, a member of Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity, belonged to St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, and was a retired Naval Reservist.
Scouting played a major role in Ken’s life for over 50 years. He gave credit to his belief in the program by following the Boy Scout law and oath. He received both the Eagle Scout and Silver Beaver awards. He always had wonderful memories of scouting, especially of Camp Parsons.
Ken had a great love for the outdoors. He loved mountain climbing, backpack hiking, and camping. He embraced his Scottish Heritage, loved to travel, play bridge, antiquing and reading.
He was preceded in death by his first wife Dorothy, his second wife Fay, and his brother Ron.
Ken is survived by his four children Vicki Jo (Ron), Burien; Riley (Carol), Duvall; Sharon (Rick), Eugene, OR; and Scott (Diana), Billings, MT. He is also survived by 7 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
A memorial for Ken will be held at a later date due to COVID concerns. Memorial donations can be made to St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, 3050 California Ave SW, Seattle 98116.
Please share memories of Ken and condolences with his family at www.emmickfunerals.com/obituary/Kenneth-Lowthian * Arrangements entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle
Family and friends are remembering Todd R. Martin, and sharing this with his community:
How can one sum up such a remarkable life in a few paragraphs?
In the spring of 2020, Todd Raymond Martin was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Being the private person that he was, he wanted to keep the circle of people who knew about his illness small. Despite receiving treatment, the cancer spread rapidly. We are heartbroken to report that Todd passed away on January 31st at University of Washington Medical Center at the age of 44.
Todd was truly a Renaissance man in every sense of the term. He was a historian, a very gifted writer, impressionist painter, bluesy rock musician, black truffle loving foodie, photographer, explorer, entrepreneur, and a self-taught programmer with a successful career. He was a lover of books, rye whiskey, old typewriters, and roads less traveled.
He was the son of a farmer, a hillbilly, and a gentleman who always put his loved one’s comfort before his own. Todd was a Midwesterner by birth, and a lifelong Ohio State football fan.
He taught literature, rhetoric, and creative writing at Miami University, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of South Carolina.
He traveled the world and made friends wherever he went. He lived all over the country, eventually settling in Seattle where he met the love of his life, Danelle Jay and landed his “dream job” at Microsoft, working with a team of people who became an extended family. The impact he has had will last far beyond his time with us. He was a calm and steadying presence, always optimistic and a fighter until his last breath. He was loved by many, and the way he loved others was very evident.
In his typical fashion, he was adamant that no pomp and ceremony surround his passing. His ashes will be dispersed in areas that were meaningful to him. Should any wish to honor his memory further, he requested that any donations made in his name be directed to cancer research facilities such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Donations to the Todd Raymond Martin memorial fund can be made at www.giftfunds.stjude.org/trmmf
Alternatively, Todd was passionate about being a good steward of our natural resources.
Todd and Danelle’s church was the forest, and it would make him smile to know more trees were planted in his memory.
While we are devastated by his death, there is comfort in knowing that his pain and suffering are over. His mother and fiancée were by his side when he passed, holding his hands and reminding him that he is so very loved by so many.
He is survived by both of his parents, his older brother, and his fiancée.
“When you’ve nothing else construct ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.”
Family and friends are remembering Frances Nitkey, and sharing this with the community:
Frances Leona Fagan Nitkey
January 26, 1922-January 20, 2021
Frances Leona Fagan Nitkey was born in The Dalles, Oregon in 1922. In her Alki home on January 20th of this year, surrounded by the love and care of her family, in comfort and peace, she took her last breath, one week shy of her 99th birthday.
Frances was born a Fagan, a proud, Irish Fagan. She grew up during the Great Depression. When most were out of work, her Dad, Daniel Patrick Fagan, was employed by the Fisher Flour Mill and his dream job with the Railroad as a brakeman. He had 2 jobs during the Great Depression, they were fortunate, they were blessed, and they gave thanks to God for it.
While attending nursing school at Sacred Heart in Spokane, she met the love of her life John W. Nitkey at Gonzaga University. They were married for 68 ½ years till John’s death in 2012. Together they had 6 children. Those 6 children gave them 16 grandchildren, those 16 grandchildren gave them 23 great-grandchildren, and now there are 3 great-great-grandchildren. There are many who look upon her as a 2nd mother or a second grandmother. She was loved by many.
Frances loved to help people. She knew what she wanted to do with her life at a very early age. She never wanted to do anything else but to be a nurse. She worked graveyard shift for many years in the nursery at Renton Hospital, while Dad stayed home with the kids. She’d then come home, and they’d meet in the driveway, he’d head off to work and she would take care of the children. I’m not sure when she found time to sleep.
Memorial service was held on her 99th birthday, January 26, 2021 at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Live stream of the service can still be viewed at facebook.com/olgparishseattle/videos/252758342880339 – an active Facebook account is NOT needed. Following the funeral Mass, a graveyard service and burial at Holyrood Catholic Cemetery in Shoreline, where she will rest next to her husband.
Frances was proceeded in death by her parents Daniel Patrick Fagan and Lucy Lee Terhune Fagan, her husband John W. Nitkey and her 4 siblings Daniel W. Fagan, Lucille Stout, Lee Fagan, Joseph Fagan. Frances is survived by her children Daniel Nitkey, Joan Kocharhook (Steve), Susan Griffin, Frances Kahler (Rick), Kathy Hostenske, and Lawrence Nitkey.
The Nitkey Family would like to thank Carelinx for the loving care they provided our mom, and ALL our supportive friends and family, for their kind words, thoughts, and prayers.
Remembrance may be made in Frances Nitkey’s name to Our Lady of Guadalupe in West Seattle.
Friends and family are remembering Margaret Copher, and sharing this with the community:
Margaret Irene Copher passed on December 30, 2020.
She was born March 12th, 1947 to John Copher and Beulah McJunkins. Irene was a graduate of Lincoln High School in Seattle.
She was a lifelong resident of Seattle and was an active member of Philadelphia Church. Irene was a demolition-car driver in her early years, worked for Northwest Protective Service, and loved her last job as a school-bus driver.
She was a lifetime member of REACT International, and was actively involved as an amateur radio operator (KF7WUD) with Puget Sound Repeater Group and West Seattle Amateur Radio Club. At the time of her passing she was not married, and is survived by cousins and a large circle of friends who loved her.
A memorial service will be held later this summer and memorial donations can be made in her name to the Philadelphia Church, pcseattle.org.
The Rev. David A. Hrachovina is being remembered by family and friends, who are sharing this:
The Rev. David Alan Hrachovina
June 10, 1952-Nov. 20, 2020
The Rev. David Alan Hrachovina was born in Seattle at the old Maynard Hospital on June 10, 1952, to Don and June Hrachovina.
He was baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, further instructed and confirmed by the many words of Scripture in the Faith of Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins.
In his youth David enjoyed Seattle to its fullest, riding the elephants at Woodland Park Zoo; hunting for pollywogs in Webster’s Swamp; looking down from Fauntleroy at the fog-filled Puget Sound and hearing the foghorn’s lonely lament; walking along the windswept bulkheads and driftwood-jumbled beaches at Lincoln Park and Alki Beach against the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound and working at Spud Fish & Chips on Alki.
David attended Hope Lutheran Parochial School in West Seattle through eighth grade, following with a year at Denny Junior High and four more at Chief Sealth High. After studying at Concordia Jr. College in Portland, Oregon, and then Concordia Sr. College in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, he attended Concordia Theological Seminary during its years of transition from Springfield, Illinois, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Following graduation, David was ordained at Hope Lutheran Church in Seattle and installed as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church (Parma, Idaho) and Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church (Homedale, Idaho). Four-and-a-half years later, he accepted a call to serve at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Boise, Idaho, where he remained from 1983 to 2010.
In 1982, David began correspondence with Doris Denninger, a third-grade teacher in Elmhurst, Illinois, and married his “mail-order bride” in August 1983. They were married for 17 years until Doris succumbed after a long battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2001. Upon retiring due to worsening health, David returned to Seattle, where he lived until his death.
Starting in 2013, he was a supporter of and volunteered as a docent for the Log House Museum of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
He was known for his Chinook Jargon greeting to visitors: “Kla-HOW-ya!” His final residence was The Kenney.
Besides his parents and wife, David was preceded in death by a sister, Janet Carol Hrachovina. With these and all the saints who have gone before us, he lives in Christ and the eager anticipation of the resurrection on the Last Day. David is survived by his sister, Kathy Marie Peycke, who lives with her family in south Seattle.
Memorials (in lieu of flowers) may be made to the Janet Carol Hrachovina Charitable Trust and/or Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Boise, Idaho. A memorial service was held Dec. 3, 2020, at Good Shepherd LCMS, (Orchard and Cassia) in Boise, Idaho. A private graveside committal took place at Dry Creek Cemetery.
Family and friends are remembering Ann K. Dirks, and sharing this remembrance with her community:
Longtime West Seattle resident Ann Kimberly Dirks died peacefully at a local senior care facility on January 3. She was 82.
The mother of five boys, Ann was known for her spirited, outgoing personality and quick humor that helped her develop deep and lasting connections with neighbors, co-workers, friends, and within her large extended family.
Born in Bellingham, Ann moved with her parents, Clair and Alta Smith, to West Seattle as a child. Ann was a 1956 graduate of West Seattle High School and went on to attend Washington State College in Pullman for two years. She married Martin (Marty) Dirks at the West Seattle Baptist Church on October 16, 1959. Marty took an engineering job in New Jersey, where their identical twin sons Greg and Brian were born, but the couple missed their family and friends in Washington so much that they made the cross-country trip back home several months later in their compact sedan.
Ann and Marty had three more sons: John, Stephen, and Tom. Ann’s life became a hubbub of cross-neighborhood gatherings, Scouts, household duties and shepherding her boys to their various activities. In the 1960s, Ann and Marty built a two-bedroom cabin on Camano Island where the family spent most summer weekends and vacation time, even living there for a year. Ann also enjoyed numerous family camping and boating trips, along with family travels throughout the West Coast.
As her sons grew older, Ann took a job with the West Seattle Herald, where she typed up community news items and classified advertisements and greeted customers. While at the Herald, she served as volunteer coordinator for the West Side Story, the definitive book about West Seattle published in 1987, supervising a cadre of people who helped with its production and distribution.
Ann and Marty also became active volunteers in the Southwest Seattle chapter of Ryther, an organization that provides mental health and substance use services to youth. In their retirement years, Ann and Marty split time between homes in West Seattle and Camano Island. They also took numerous cruises, traveled around the world, and looked forward to their annual ski trip with family and friends to McCall, Idaho. Ann was an avid reader, loved taking long walks on the beach and telling stories to her grandchildren.
In addition to Marty and their five sons, all of whom live in the greater Seattle area, Ann is survived by nine grandchildren, a step-grandson, and two great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her sister Jane. Her brother, Stuart Smith, lives in Gresham, Oregon.
An online memorial service is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 – please contact RememberingAnn@utsservices.net to be included. Ann will be interred near her parents and other family at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Ferndale. The family suggests remembrances in her name to Ryther or to the West Seattle Food Bank.
You may share memories of Ann and visit the full obituary page and online guestbook at emmickfunerals.com.
The family would like to acknowledge the caregivers and staff at Aegis Living of West Seattle for their tremendous care and support of Ann during her final months.
Family and friends are remembering centenarian Bettie Dunbar, and sharing this with her community:
The family of longtime West Seattle resident Bettie Dunbar is sad to announce her passing on Saturday, 1/02/2021 of Covid-19, just days after her 101st birthday.
Bettie was born on December 29, 1919, in Puyallup After graduating from High School, she attended and graduated from the University of Washington. During WWII she worked for the American Red Cross. In 1945, she married Horace Dunbar while he was still in the US Army, staying married until his death in 1999. In 1948 Bettie and Horace built their home in Fauntleroy (which is still in the family) where they raised their family. Bettie was active in the Fauntleroy Community Church, singing in the choir for many years, and was an ardent member of West Seattle’s Golden West Camera Club.
She retired from Seattle Public Schools in the early ’80s, having taught Special Education at Pacific Pre-vocational School, Lincoln High School, and finally at Chief Sealth HS. Horace and Bettie retired within months of each other and became world travelers, visiting 47 different countries as well as Antarctica. Bettie volunteered at the Cancer Society Discovery Shop in the Junction, did Tax Preparation through the West Seattle Senior Center, and served at the monthly pancake breakfast at the Seattle Swedish Club.
She is survived by her three sons (Jerry, David, and Brian), 6 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. The accompanying photo is from her 100th birthday celebration. No memorial service is planned at this time.
Family and friends are remembering Lonzell Johnson, and sharing this with the community:
Lonzell Spencer Johnson
Born December 13, 1987 in Anchorage, AK
Died December 6, 2020 in West Seattle, WA
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Lonzell Spencer Johnson. Lonzell was a beloved son, caring brother, proud uncle, role model, and friend.
Lonzell is survived by his mother Barbara Eddy (John – deceased), father Paul Johnson (Launa), brother Nathan Johnson, sisters Joy Lacher (Joe, Josie), Sarah Cochran (Evan, Brody, Caden, Anna, LilyAnn), Melissa Johnson, Mallory Hanus (John, James, Maggie), ErinAnn Corwin (Josh, Edwin), and brothers Jesse and Reggie Johnson.
Lonzell was born in Anchorage, Alaska, but spent most of his childhood and adult years in Western Washington. Known as Lonnie to his family, he graduated from Enumclaw High School in 2006, and was an active participant in drama and student publications. He was a movie buff, collector, and loved competition. Baking was a favorite pastime, and Lonnie was known for passing out an annual tray of holiday treats to friends, family, and co-workers.
He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1998 at 10 years old; his mother signed him up for Camp Leo for Children with Diabetes, something that would drastically change his life and the lives of so many others. Over the past 20 years, he has been an integral part of the Camp Leo community, starting as a camper and later serving as a key volunteer and staff member. He devoted his time to helping others. He was a member of the Enumclaw and Tacoma Centennial Lions Clubs, and one of the youngest-ever graduates of the Northwest Lions Leadership Institute. He spent time volunteering with nonprofit organizations including JDRF, ConnecT1D, and the Diabetes Education and Camping Association.
Lonzell’s positive impact on his community was immense and far-reaching. His infectious energy, deep thoughtfulness, quirky humor, and spirit of service changed thousands of people’s lives for the better in ways large and small. The outpouring of grief at his passing from people of all walks of life — those who knew him well or only a little, young and old, from across Washington State and beyond — is a testament to his ability to connect with others, and bring joy and wonder to their lives. Lonzell brought laughter and light to all those around him. Though he battled depression, we take comfort knowing that he is now beyond pain and suffering and his profound impact on those he inspired will never fade.
Condolences to the family can be sent to Barbara Eddy, P.O.Box 884, Buckley, WA 98321.
In light of the importance of Camp Leo to his life, supporters of Camp Leo have created the Lonzell “Stacker” Johnson Memorial Fund, dedicated to supporting children with diabetes and their families through the magic of summer camp. His Camp Leo community will also be holding an online celebration of his life in the coming weeks and an in-person celebration later in the year. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on these events or on donating.
If you or someone you love is in emotional distress or crisis, please call the N.S.P. Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Continuing our start-of-a-new-year series of reminders about what WSB offers besides news coverage: Tonight – one of those services we hope you don’t need, but if you do – we publish obituaries for free. We’re told that other publications can charge up to hundreds of dollars to publish one, and we think that’s wrong – grieving families have enough else to worry about – so in the past decade, we’ve published almost 500 obituaries, all at no charge. We consider them to be news – and while some are very basic, others tell stories of interest even to those who never knew the person who’s passed on. If this is a service you find yourself in need of, all you have to do is send us the text and photo, as part of your email, not as a Word or PDF type attachment. If you’re including time-sensitive information such as the date for a memorial or celebration of life (we’ve had some Zoom links in recent obituaries), please keep in mind that several days’ lead time is best as it might take us a few days to publish it. You can scroll through our archive for examples of what we’ve published.
Family and friends will gather virtually Saturday to remember Jonathan M. Hetzel. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing with the community:
Jonathan Mark Hetzel died peacefully at 8:44 pm on 12/15/2020 at St. Anne Hospital in Burien. He was 35 years old. He was surrounded by family, including his parents who were bedside, and siblings virtually. Jon is survived by many friends and family including: parents Mike and Anna Louise Hetzel; siblings Charlene McRae, Dave Hetzel, Michelle Hetzel, and Steve Hetzel; many cousins, including Stephanie Stone; and five nieces and three nephews.
Jon was a hard and diligent worker. By trade, Jon was a marine pipe fitter with U.A. Local 32 Plumbers and Pipefitters. He worked at Foss Maritime for almost 14 years until mid-2020, when he became too ill to work. He was a valued employee and his colleagues in the shipyard will miss him. Jon specifically enjoyed going out on Puget Sound for test runs after making fixes to tugboats or other marine vessels.
Jon was active in his union and appreciated the support and collective-bargaining strength that came with union membership. Because of his work history and union protections, his health insurance was maintained for months after he wasn’t able to work due to health problems. When he wasn’t able to work, he was concerned his health insurance would run out. We are deeply relieved, and grateful to UA Local 32, that he had continuous health insurance until his death.
Jon was a beautiful combination of extrovert and introvert. He could talk your ear off and very much enjoyed the company of others. He could make friends with almost anyone and specifically enjoyed the company of those who were older than he was. He also enjoyed his own company and often kept to himself. In the last several years, Jon’s health deteriorated and he suffered the loss of several friends who passed away. He felt the loss of his friends deeply. Jon was notoriously private and kept his friends and family separate; only in his passing are we beginning to meet each other.
Jon was an incredibly kind, compassionate, and gentle soul with a variety of interests. Jon was an avid reader and had boxes upon boxes of paperback novels. Jon particularly enjoyed learning about history and regularly watched the History Channel. He was knowledgeable about electronics and had many computers; he had a penchant for disassembling and repairing or upgrading them. Jon had a special relationship with puzzles – he found them particularly cathartic when he was going through treatment for his illness. Jon enjoyed traveling to far-off places. His most notable trips included Europe; Central America; Southeast Asia; and the Mediterranean. He loved learning about other cultures and was an adventurous eater, with a willingness to try local cuisine and apt enthusiasm for spicy foods.
Jon loved to barbecue with friends and was a regular when cookouts were held at Big Al’s Brewery; beer Mondays and BBQ Wednesdays were standing commitments on his calendar. Stubbs barbecue sauce was a mainstay in Jon’s fridge and pantry, along with meats and cheeses; chips and sour cream; fried chicken; gummy bears; and Jolly Ranchers. Jon chose fruit over vegetables and meat over anything else. His only foray into cooking was meat and jalapeño poppers. For dessert, he preferred ice cream or the occasional slice of apple pie.
Jon was active in the local White Center community. He was an enthusiast for small businesses, specifically restaurants including: Full Tilt; Proletariat Pizza; Itto’s Tapas; Young’s; Super Deli Mart; and Beer Star. He enjoyed White Center Art Walks and Jubilee Days. Jon made frequent trips to Lincoln Park, where he’d bring his breakfast and soak up the views.
In the last couple years, Jon became an active member of the White Center Eagles Club. He was there almost daily, socializing with everyone. The club members became like a surrogate family for Jon, making sure he had holiday plans and checking on him when his absence was noted. Since his passing, club members have stepped up to support the family and honor Jon’s memory. He was valued as a kind and caring member of the club.
A Zoom memorial for Jon will be held on Saturday, January 2nd, at 2 pm. A celebration of Jon’s life will be held this summer at Lincoln Park and will include a display of Jon’s favorite sarcastic T-shirts. Friends, coworkers, and others are encouraged to email email@example.com to participate in either or both events.