Obituaries — Nov. 27, 2019

  • Wednesday, November 27, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Larry Maurice Hanify

Larry Maurice Hanify of Port Angeles died of Alzheimer’s disease/dementia on Nov. 20, 2019. He was 84.

Hanify was born Aug. 15, 1935.

A memorial is scheduled for 1 .m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at First United Methodist Church, 110 E. Seventh St., Port Angeles. Sign an online guestbook for the family at

Randy Joseph Wellman

Randy Joseph Wellman passed away unexpectedly from that big ‘ol heart of his, Saturday, November 9th, at home with Deanna by his side.

Randy, ‘Big Daddy,’ lived his life full of family, friends and football in his heart. He played football for Columbia Basin Community College and then Eastern Washington University, where he continued to excel as an offensive lineman. Randy’s contagious laugh and sense of humor gained him a brotherhood of friends that would last them all a lifetime and beyond.

Randy and Deanna moved to Sequim, in 1990, to begin a journey owning Tacisio’s The Italian Place and raising their children, Andrea and Matthew. Their journey lasted 25 year with many memories and the legacy of him known as the Pizzaman.

For the last five years, with the guidance of Bob Torres, the support of the Sequim Association of Realtors and the Sequim community, Randy became a successful realtor.

No one was a stranger to Randy, he was the true definition of tough love and a gentle giant with endless generosity.

His memory will be carried on by his beautiful babe of a wife of 35 years, Deanna; his fairy princess daughter, Andrea; look-a-like handsome son, Matthew; little sis, Ann (Cherry); and his sidekick dog, Kramer.

A Celebration of Life was held November 23rd.

If you feel inclined, there is a Memorial Fund at SOUND COMMUNITY BANK under Randy Wellman Memorial Fund.

Thank you Sequim family and friends.

Gordon W. Kalahar

September 7, 1925 – November 7, 2019

Gordie, or Mr. Kalahar, depending on how you knew him, led an amazing life.

A child of William and Edna (Vetterman) with five siblings, he was born “Irish,” in South Dakota. The family moved first to Minnesota then Colorado. His family gave years to hard scrabble “dust-bowl” farming and finally moved into the town of Loveland, Colorado.

As the eldest surviving son, he left school early to join the US Navy at 16. He served with honor from 1941-1945 on both merchant ships and in C-2 convoys of Liberty and Victory ships. They carried troops, supplies, and ammunition in World War II. Gordie sent dollars home to help his family purchase a home and after the war, he was honorably discharged.

He then collected an amazing resume of jobs from farm and concrete rockwork to telephone lineman and meat cutter. He worked for Peter Kiewet and Sons, Flamingo Casino construction and as a shill for the Golden Nugget Casino.

One of his many jobs was driving a tour bus, the “Backward Happiness” at Estes Park, Colorado. He entertained riders with stories of the flora, fauna and the mining camps while driving each winding curve on the narrow highway.

He met the love of his life, Elspeth Benson (Elpie), at Greeley Colorado State College. They married June 8, 1951, in La Junta, Colorado. Elpie’s mother, Jean M. Benson, made her wedding dress and her father, Rev. Glion Benson, conducted the wedding. They honeymooned on a fire look-out on Hogue Mountain, in Idaho. A donkey delivered them to the look-out and Gordie packed fresh water two miles from a spring to the look-out.

With a degree from the School of Education, Gordie completed a Masters Degree in Industrial Arts while Elpie finished her degree in Elementary Education, with endorsements in music/theatre.

Degrees in hand, they moved with first child, Kim (1952), to Mountain Home, Idaho. His first teaching job netted them $3,000 per year. Soon their son, Michael, (1953) arrived. In 1954, a Christmas card received from college friends mentioned job openings at Port Angeles High School.

His new job brought the young family to the Olympic Peninsula, and in 1956, their younger son, Byron, was born. Teaching Industrial Arts and Business classes during the year, Gordie was employed summers in Olympic National Park as a naturalist and worked on the Six Ridge Fire in the Staircase District. The Elwha, La Poel at Lake Crescent and Kalaloch were several of his summer placements until 1962.

In 1964, he took a year-long sabbatical from teaching to attend Western Washington College, to build his skills and knowledge in biology. He returned to Port Angeles to begin a long and rewarding career as a biology teacher, retiring in 1988, completing 35 years!

Gordie was passionate about the natural world. He was resourceful in providing salt-water tanks for his students (thanks Ron) and keeping animals and many specimens in the classroom (keeping his lab assistants busy). His enthusiasm for plants, animals, insects and birds was contagious. He had strong photography skills and he loved to hike and cross country ski. He loved time spent at the grandparent’s home on Orcas Island, filled with good food, hot fires and laughter.

He and Elpie sailed the “Olympic Mist” throughout the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands, circumnavigating Vancouver Island several times. Sailing with him and his family as crew was exciting and always a learning opportunity. “You’re a natural!” he would say. Or “Be bold” or “Coming About! Mind your head!”

As a jovial man with an extraordinary flair for making friends, telling jokes and using just the right word or phrase; he was unsurpassed as a hugger! He made friends even in the recent chapter at Dungeness Courte Memory Care Center—with the residents yes, AND the staff. His friends at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church will miss Gordie.

His younger siblings, Dallas and Donna and their extended families in Colorado, survive him, as do his children, Byron, Mike and Kim and their families with four grandsons and nine great-grandchildren.

His lovely wife, Elpie, sister, Gladys, brothers, Sherman and Jim, precede him.

Donations in his honor may be made to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church or Volunteer Hospice of Clallam Co.

A Memorial Service will be held Friday, December 6th, at 1:00 PM at St. Andrew’s. Slanche Gordie! God Bless

Wilma D. (Baird) Pyles

November 9, 1933 – November 7, 2019

Wilma was born in Hitchita, Oklahoma, to Chester and Sophronia (Price) Baird, and died at her home, in Sequim, two days before her 86th birthday of age related causes.

Wilma’s mother was in her sixth month of pregnancy, when Wilma made an early entrance into this world. She was a tiny 24 ounce preemie, born at home with the country doctor in attendance. He sadly told her parents that she would not survive, and focused his attention on the mother instead. Against all odds, Wilma continued to breathe; she was kept warm in a shoe box, in front of the open oven, and fed a tiny amount of coffee with a little whiskey to “stimulate” her! The doctor told her parents “You’ll be good ones if you manage to raise this one…”

Imagine that ol’ country doctor’s surprise when he made his way around a year later, and there was that tiny baby girl, still alive and toddling around! She was truly a miracle!

Wilma grew up, but was never very big! She was a tiny, feisty, fun loving young woman when she met “Big Jim” Pyles, from Texas, who was in her hometown attending some schooling for his Air Force training. They had a whirlwind romance and married a short time later, as he was flying off to Fairbanks, Alaska, which is where they spent the first two years of their marriage. Jim and Wilma had been married for 50 years at the time of his death in 2002.

She raised three successful daughters, of whom she was always so proud and supportive.

Wilma was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and homemaker who’s world revolved around loving and nurturing her family.

Some of our fondest memories are of how welcomed all of our friends were made to feel when they joined us for a meal. No one was a stranger, and all were welcome. She never missed a sporting event, music recital, horse show, or school function, if at all possible. She was loved, and will be greatly missed by her family. She was, in a nutshell, a wonderful mother!

Wilma loved riding motorcycles, and was an accomplished archer! She was a longtime member of the Wapiti Bowmen Club. Wilma was an active member of the local Parkinson’s Support Group as she cared for her husband, Jim.

She also was a regular attendee of the Hospice Brown Bag lunch and the Tuesday Night Dinner group for more years than we can remember! Wilma attended Independent Bible Church for many years, before moving to Sequim Community Church to be closer to home.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Jim; brother, Chester “Leon” Baird; and sister, Lois Rodriquez.

She is survived by her sister, Sue Porter; brother, Alan Miller; daughters, Donna (Sam) Parks, Tina (Cliff) Rocheleau, and Rina (Fred) Brandt; grandchildren, Jamie (Melonie), Jessica (Jonathan), Danielle, Tim (Carissa), and step-grandson, Michael (Lonnie); as well as great- grandchildren, Fiona, Duncan, and Samantha.

Well done, Mom! We will love you always and forever.

Per her request, there will be no services. The family will have a private service at a later date. We wish to thank Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County for their help and support, and request any Memorials go to VHOCC at 829 E. 8th Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

Karen Kuznek-Reese

July 7, 1959 – November 14, 2019

Following a long and courageous battle with metastatic breast cancer, Karen passed away peacefully at home with family by her side.

Karen is survived by her mother, Helen Kuznek; husband, Robb Reese; brother, Martin Kuznek; sister-in-law, Terri Peterson; daughter, Alicia Neal; step-children Dustin (Siobhan) Reese, Derek (Lindsay) Reese, Brittany (Rustin) Terry, Tiffany Reese, and 15 adorable grandchildren.

Karen was born in Tacoma and raised in Port Orchard, Washington. She and her daughter Alicia relocated to Sequim in 1988. Karen’s dedication and commitment to the community of Sequim led to her selection as City Clerk. She served her community with honor and distinction, she loved it and supported it in all of her endeavors.

Karen loved traveling, gardening, making jewelry, cooking, and going with her husband on his golfing trips. She enjoyed family gatherings and spoiling her grandkids that adored her and referred to her as “Costco Grandma”. She was a strong, exceptional, and a loving woman who will always be remembered.

Karen was preceded in death by her father, William Kuznek and brother, William Joseph Kuznek.

Celebration of life will be held at John Wayne Marina on December 1st from 1-4 PM. Donations in her name may be made to the local Boys & Girls Club of Sequim or Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Scott Michael Van Geystel

Scott Michael Van Geystel was born on January 31, 1969, in Seattle, to Mike and Barbara (Oakley) Van Geystel.

Scott graduated from Sequim High School, in 1987, and Peninsula College with an AA and mechanics certificate. He eloped with his high school sweetheart, Susan Schmidt, on October 31, 1996.

Scott worked with his father at Port Angeles Glass and at Sunny Farms while in school. After graduating from Peninsula College, he worked as the Olympic Ambulance mechanic. At Les Schwab, in Sequim, he was the brake and alignment guy. He made many good friends here and became a mentor to co-workers.

Scott loved cars and especially the 1956 Ford F100 pickup that he restored as a teenager. Many weekends were spent at Port Angeles Speedway racing a 1967 Cougar then the “Purple Pony,” a 1967 Mustang. He graduated to truck pulling, traveling around the Northwest, with his dad, in the “Rebel Rouser.”

Some of Scott’s most treasured memories were camping and fishing with his family (including grandparents, Cecil and Marguerite Oakley), in Eastern Washington. As he got older, fall became his favorite time of year. He loved bow hunting and muzzle loading especially.

Planning meals and cooking with his many dutch ovens meant everyone in Scott’s camp was well fed. Food was another interest. This included watching cooking shows on TV. He set up the smoking kitchen for Sunny Farms and will always be a part of the Sunny Farms family.

Scott will be remembered by his acquaintances as a really nice guy and an engaging storyteller. Trading hunting and fishing stories was one of his favorite pastimes.

His friends will remember him as loyal, thoughtful and fun loving. His family will remember him as a protector and a sweet, sensitive and creative man who gave the best bear hugs.

Scott is survived by his wife, Susan; father, Mike (Dorothy); mother, Barbara Oakley; sister, Kristine (Tony) Wright. His Aunt Pat, Aunt Patty and Uncle David (Louise) survive along with four cousins. His extended family includes Roger and Ellie Schmidt; Sarah (Todd) Thomas; Jeff (Pam) Schmidt; and many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held at John Wayne Marina on February 22, 2020.

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