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Delmer O. “Del” Ketchie

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Delmer O. “Del” Ketchie

Wenatchee, WA

Delmer O. “Del” Ketchie, 81, of Wenatchee, WA, passed away on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Del was born on July 7, 1932, and raised in Salisbury, NC. He attended North Carolina State and transferred to Washington State College, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a Minor in Economics. He received his Master’s degree in Horticulture and a Minor in Botany from the University of Idaho, and a PhD in Pomology with Minors in Biochemistry and Plant Physiology from Cornell University. Del had lived in Wenatchee since December 1967, and was employed by Washington State University at the Tree Fruit Research Center for a little over 29 years. He was previously employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Indio, CA. He had been both a migrant worker and an administrator in the fruit industry, a university professor doing research in agriculture, plant physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology, had trained graduate students and taught classes at the university level. During his retirement, Del wrote newspaper articles and short stories. He also participated in civic groups such as Visioning America and actively volunteered with his church to fulfill his personal mission of working towards solutions to overcome poverty and raise awareness about climate change. Del served in the U.S. Army from 1952 until 1955. He pulled overseas duty in Korea and Japan. On August 7, 1959, he married Robin Sorenson and they had two beautiful daughters, Kimberly and Kelly. Del possessed a tremendous curiosity to explore the world and know other cultures. This led him to become well-traveled, having seen all 50 states in the U.S., all ten provinces in Canada and visited 29 other countries. He also lived in seven different states and a short time in the Netherlands. During his travels in Poland, during the fall of 1977, he met his wife, Ewa Pasternak. They were married on February 17, 1979, and had two wonderful children, Conrad and Adela.

Del was an incredible humanitarian who loved all of God’s people and creation. He appreciated the simple pleasures in life and shared his lighthearted optimism and humor with all he met. Indeed, Del was a man of infectious goodwill. Keen to learn and challenge his knowledge and views, he exhibited time and again exquisite patience, tolerance and a belief in the possibility of reconciliation and transformation. Del lived a life of compassion and grace, with a strong faith and confidence in God’s love. His only worry was that he did not do enough, that he did not affect enough change or solve enough problems, that he did not make a bigger difference in the world he left behind. Respected by colleagues, loved by his family, and adored by many friends, they all know this could not be further from the truth. His humility cannot overshadow the true magnitude of his contribution and the lasting difference he made, and will continue to make, in countless lives and places around the world.

Survivors include wife, Ewa Ketchie of Wenatchee; daughter, Kimberly Weller of Maple Valley; daughter, Kelly Keebler of Andover, NJ; son, Conrad Ketchie of Los Angeles, CA; daughter, Adela Ketchie of Wenatchee; five grandchildren, Magan Hawkins, Max Weller, Marcus Weller, Ian Keebler, Keir Keebler; and one great-grandson, Carson Hawkins.

Memorial Services will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Wenatchee on Saturday, August 3, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to UMCOR. Please express your thoughts and memories in the online guestbook at

jonesjonesbetts.com. Arrangements are by Jones & Jones~Betts Funeral Home, Wenatchee.

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