Roy George Westerdahl
Saturday, November 9, 2013, Brewster lost one of the few remaining members of the Greatest Generation and long time community member, Roy Westerdahl. He died from head injuries suffered in a fall at his home, at the age of 95. Roy will be remembered by most for his daily walks downtown, his ever-present smile and his interesting talks with whoever his path would cross. Born in Tacoma in 1918, Roy graduated from Lincoln High School in 1936. He immediately went to Alaska, where he found employment working as a watchman on a floating fish trap for five subsequent summers. He worked on fishing and tug boats as well. These were times that he was quite fond and proud of.
In 1941, Roy joined the U.S. Navy which he served in until his discharge at the wars end. He then married Lois Monroe, his wife to be of 58 years. While attending the University of Washington, they built a house on Mercer Island. Roy earned double majors in Money & Banking and in Speech. Upon graduation, they moved to Brewster and took over Lois’ family’s orchard properties. He immediately became active in agricultural and civic activities. He became a Director of the Brewster Cooperative Growers Association, which shortly merged with Brewster Mutual Apple Growers. He became Chairman of this organization. They then merged with Omak Fruit Growers to become MAGI. He was chairman of this organization for many years.
Roy was a long time board member and Chairman of the Washington State Clearing House Association. He was a director and Chairman of the Washington State Apple Commission, a Trustee of the Northwest Horticultural Council, a Director of Northwest Wholesale, a Board Member of the State Horticultural Association and a Trustee of the Welch Grape Juice Company. He was invited to serve on the five County Council of Camp Fire Girls, of which he soon became Chairman. He also served on the Board of the Boy Scouts, where he conceived and directed a giant camp-out commemorating the inundation of the old Fort Okanogan by Wells Dam.
Roy was very politically active and made two unsuccessful runs at the State Legislature. He was Chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party and Chairman of the Fifth Congressional District. He was on the Republican State Central Committee for many years and a member of the Washington State Republican Executive Committee for several years. He was a director of the (then) Okanogan County Medical Association, a director of the FHA, and was on the Board of the Upper Columbia Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group. Up until the last several, he was involved with the HOSTS program as a mentor for students at the Brewster Grade School.
Roy was an avid golfer and said that one of his most satisfying achievements in life were his five holes in one he got while playing golf. He was a lifetime member of the Lake Woods Golf Course and served on its board as chairman several times.
He enjoyed taking the family on outdoor outings and camping trips. Often up in the mountains, sometimes to Canada. And annual trips to the ocean with family friends in search of clams, oysters and salmon. Boating trips up Lake Chelan or on the many sections of the Columbia River were also regular summer adventures. Roy loved the outdoors and spent most of his life in them, one way or another. He and his wife, Lois, enjoyed retirement after sale of their orchard in 1977. They traveled the world on various cruises and trips. Many of their winters were spent in Arizona, where they stayed in various locations and met many new interesting friends whose company they enjoyed and kept for many years.
Roy and his son, Brian, grew cherries on an orchard near Bridgeport. If he wasn’t at the golf course or in his garden at home, he could be found out somewhere in the cherry orchard. He also enjoyed fishing with his son, Vernon, on his pontoon boat and many a steelhead were landed by the two. Family golf outings were both fun and competitive, with Roy usually carding the lowest score. We will sure miss you dad.
Roy was preceded in death by his parents Tom and Ethyl; wife, Lois; brother, Warren; sister, June; daughter, Deanne; and grandson, Jason. He is survived by sons, Brian (Cathy) and Vernon; and grandchildren, Amber, Christy and Alisa; eight great-grandchildren; and his companion of ten plus years, Mary Johnson.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Brewster Senior Center, PO Box 96, Brewster, WA. 98812.
There will be a public Graveside Service Friday, November 22, 2013 at the Bridgeport Cemetery at 11:00 a.m., followed by a reception at the Brewster American Legion Hall. Services are entrusted to Barnes Chapel of Brewster. Please leave your condolences and remembrances at www.barneschapel.com.