Obituaries — Nov. 28, 2018

Donald Lee Kelly

Donald Lee Kelly died of complications of cancer in his Port Angeles home at age 72.

Kelly, a retired Clallam County Sheriff’s Office sergeant, was born Jan. 3, 1946.

A memorial is set for a later date.

The community is invited to sign an online guestbook for Kelly’s family at

Dr. Gerilee Gustason

July 5, 1939 – November 9, 2018

Gerilee “Geri” Gustason, of Sequim, was born on July 5, 1939 to Arthur D. and Martha (Andersen) Gustason in Blair, Nebraska. She passed away unexpectedly from a stroke at the age of 79 at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles on November 9, 2018.

Gerilee was deafened at an early age due to spinal meningitis, and went on to devote her life to improving the quality of education for deaf and hard of hearing children worldwide. She received Master of Arts degrees from three universities: Gallaudet College, California State University, Northridge, and University of Maryland. She received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Southern California. Geri was one of the first deaf women in America to earn a PhD. She taught deaf students in California, at Gallaudet College, and was the director the training program for teachers of deaf and hard of hearing children at San Jose State University before retiring to Sequim in 2000.

As a professor, researcher, and author, she was best known for “Signing Exact English” (SEE) which she co-authored with her colleague and good friend Esther Zawolkow. SEE is a sign language system designed to be an exact representation of English vocabulary and grammar.

After retiring to Sequim, she remained active as an advocate for deaf children, authoring legislation, teaching sign language courses at Peninsula College, and presenting workshops about SEE.

Geri had a remarkable sense of humor, and loved examining the strange nuances of the English language and the puzzling pronunciation of many words. “Why does ‘rough’ rhyme with ‘bluff’ while ‘though’ rhymes with ‘throw?’” She had a passion for our language and was eager to see deaf children master it as their native language. She was a true animal lover, and always lavished attention on the rescued dogs and cats that were fortunate enough to share her home. She adored living in Sequim and loved the view of the mountains and valley from her back deck.

Geri was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Jayne, Maxine and Gloria, and brothers Billy and Arthur (Dale).

She is survived by her daughter, Zoey Wolfe, whom she loved dearly, and her grandson Seamus Sexton who brightened her life every day. She is also survived by her many colleagues, students, and friends who enjoyed her wit and greatly respected her accomplishments

A Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later time. The family suggests donations in memory of Geri be sent to the Signing Exact English Center via their website:

Rolland Douglas Kenitzer

August 18 1930 – June 11, 2018

Rolland Douglas (Koenitzer Jr.) Kenitzer, age 87, died June 11, 2018, in his home in Sequim. Rolland was born to Rolland and Stella Koenitzer, in 1930, in West Allis, Wisconsin. During his childhood he discovered a love of boating after his father completed a 25-foot cabin cruiser that they sailed on Lake Ontario, the Welland Canal and Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan.

Rolland graduated from Oberlin High School in Ohio, and attended Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He graduated, in 1952, with a BS in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. He was drafted during the Korean War and served two years at Camp (now Fort), Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. After getting out of the Army, Rolland continued his education at UC Berkeley in Physics. After two years, he took an engineering job at Raytheon, in Santa Barbara, where he met and married his wife, Diane Samuelson. They were married November 1, 1958.

In 1962, Rolland took a job with Lockheed Missiles and Space at the tracking station they operated on Oahu, Hawaii. He moved his wife and young family there where they lived and enjoyed island life for three years. In 1965, they moved to Cupertino, California, where Rolland continued to work for Lockheed in a variety of positions until he retired in 1990. He also became very involved in the Cupertino Planning Commission and City Council plus continued learning by taking computer programming classes at De Anza College.

Upon retirement, it was time to leave the fast pace of Silicon Valley. Rolland became interested in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. In 1992, he was sworn in and was an active member until his passing. Rolland also volunteered for over ten years at the Sequim Museum and Arts Center and enjoyed the Sequim Computer Club. Additionally, he loved raising irises, rhododendrons, was an avid reader and accomplished photographer. He never lost his love of learning.

Rolland is survived by his beloved wife, Diane (Samuelson) Kenitzer; son, David (Alice) Koenitzer of Vacaville, California; daughter, Laura (Greg) Weilert of Sisters, Oregon and grandchildren, Candiss, Heather, Erik, Dylan, and Valerie. He will be missed by his family and friends.

A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.

Dorothy Welch

January 6, 1926 – November 20, 2018

Dorothy Welch, born January 6, 1926, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family on November 20, 2018.

Dorothy was preceded in death by Charles Welch, her husband of 61 years. She married Charles on December 18, 1944, at Old Mission in San Luis Rey de Francia, California.

She is survived by her children: Kate Airhart-Johnson, Keith (Madelaine) Welch, Mark (Connie) Welch, Clyde Welch (deceased), Joan (Glenn) Frable, Lynn Gunther, Rex (Rose) Welch, and Angela (Tony) Fiso. Dorothy is also survived by her 24 grandchildren (three deceased) and by 33 great-grandchildren (one deceased) and two great-great-grandchildren.

Dorothy spent her childhood on a dairy farm on Orcas Island, with her parents and her three sisters and two brothers. Over the years, she lived in various places in Washington, Oregon, and California, including Bellingham, Friday Harbor, Burien, Arlington, Spokane, Cle Elum, Vashon Island, Shelton and Matlock. She attended business schools and worked in assorted office positions. Along with raising a large family, she had great passion for gardening, cooking, and was a devout Catholic.

Please join family and friends for a funeral mass service celebrating her life on Friday, November 30, 2018 at 11:00 AM. Rosary preceding at 10:30 am at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 121 E Maple St, Sequim, WA 98382.

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