Park naturalist celebrates at 102

Gunnar Fagerlund turned 102 on April 12.

Fagerlund was born and raised in North Dakota. He joined the National Park Service as a naturalist in the 1930s and was stationed in national parks around the country until he retired in 1968.

He and his wife had enjoyed their time in Olympic National Park and returned to the Sequim area. They built a home on Hogback Road where one son still lives. The other son built his own house on the same road. Fagerlund watched Sequim grow from 900 people to its present size of 5,688.

"I've never lived in a better place than the peninsula," he says.

He now resides at Sherwood Assisted Living, 550 W. Hendrickson Road,


Fagerlund says his life has been positive. He attributes that to a happy marriage and a wonderful wife. He and his wife, Frances, were married for 75 years before her death just after she turned 100. They had two sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

After his retirement, Fagerlund was drafted to be the first president of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society.

In 2003, the couple made a grant to Peninsula College for its Writer in Residence Program. Their hope was to encourage writing about the delicate balance between humans and the planet.

Fagerlund's words of advice to the younger generation:

"Be trustworthy in all your relations with other people. If you're not, I think your life is ruined."

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