As we are coming into this new year I was thinking about an old friend and suddenly a smile came to my face and so I brought up his picture and an even bigger smile came to my face. What a great friend he was and indeed still is because not a week goes by that I don't think of this man and his approach to life. For those of us that knew him, we all recognized that he had a special knack for greeting and befriending people. He always had a smile for you and a pat on the back. I can still hear him saying, "Well hello there Mr. Don." To say that he was friends with everyone wouldn't be far wrong. And so here's to a great old friend. I'm sure he is looking down on us from that well deserved spot in heaven just waiting until we can join him at the Galactic wide Kiwanis Meeting in which he will undoubtedly be "The Secretary."
Xavier Chavez or as we all knew him “Charlie! ”
A soft spoken man with an understanding heart. The one thing Charlie didn’t understand though, was not helping your fellow man. He couldn’t understand why more people didn’t volunteer to do good things for their communities, because you see Charlie had ... “figured it out!” The more you give of yourself the more you get back. It’s a simple undefinable equation and it all adds up to happiness. Happiness for the people you’re helping and a happy warm hearted calm and peacefulness knowing that you have helped your community and your fellow man. The pleasure you get from helping people is amazing. From his animated Chicken dances to his one arm “EL Presidente” salutes to Jay Henwood, he knew how to spread happiness. He was in the truest sense of the word “a Gentleman!” So I’ll leave you with a visual. Picture Charlie entering the Pearly Gates and being greeted by none other than Bill Petter. It’s not tough imagining those two preparing for that galactic wide Kiwanis Meeting and volunteering for the "watch", because I don’t know about you but I have a sense that both are sitting in on all we do, and watching over us.
Larry Haakenstad 1956 - 2015
After learning he had terminal cancer, friends and KCK members Jay Henwood and Ross Dessert invited Larry Haakenstad to join our club. Larry was with us only since October 2014, but his courage and positive attitude inspired all of us.
Larry leaves behind his wife Jill, and three tremendous children; Annie, Larson, and Kurt. He also is mourned by scores of loving friends in Kirkland and elsewhere
May he Rest in Peace.
1927 - 2016
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of our most beloved Kiwanians, Dick Shinstrom.
In many ways, Dick Shinstrom was the heart and soul of the Kiwanis Club of Kirkland. He joined Kiwanis in 1949, just two years after the club was formed, and amazingly, Dick maintained perfect attendance for his entire membership... 67 years.
Dick served in a number of key positions during his years with the Kiwanis Club of Kirkland, as well as the Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation... including president, board chairman, treasurer, and more. He was a mentor to many younger club members, helping them to understand the importance of the club's mission of Serving the Children.
Dick's community service and philanthropy were not just limited to Kiwanis. Both generous and humble, he quietly left his very significant mark not just on Kiwanis, but our entire community. In many ways, the Kirkland we enjoy today is due in large part to the efforts of Dick Shinstrom. May he rest in peace. To see Dick's obiturary, click HERE
The Kiwanis Club of Kirkland lost a trusted and valued member when Chuck Fitch passed away on February 16, 2017. Chuck joined Kiwanis in 1981, and went on to fill a variety of roles within the club, including the roll of Beloved Resident Curmudgeon. His New England upbringing stayed with Chuck throughout his life, wherein Chuck would never sugar-coat his opinions, but refreshingly simply tell you exactly what he thought. Chuck had a heart of gold, particularly when it came to children. He will be missed by all. To view Chuck's touching obituary, click HERE.
Below is a touching memoire provided by good friend Chuck Brown:
My Friend Charlie
I distinctly remember the day. Not the day of the week or the year, but the day. I was late for an appointment with a customer. Unfortunately, the company vehicle I was driving needed fuel. I pulled into this gas station, the Olympic View Service. As rapidly as I could I filled the vehicle with gas and then I sprinted to the office to pay the guy sitting there. He was busy in conversation with somebody, and although he didn’t acknowledge me, I knew he knew I was there. One minute turned to two and my agitation, irritation and frustration kept building until finally this guy acknowledges me and takes my money. What had started as a bad day had just been made much worse by that ornery SOB sitting in the gas station office. I had just had my first contact with Chuck Fitch.
That was over forty years ago. As fate would have it a couple years after that incident we would move our operations very close to Chuck’s service station and it became the regular location to fill our company vehicles. I found out he was a pretty good guy. When the gas crisis of the 70’s occurred and people were lined up around the block to get what gas was available, Chuck Fitch said to my brother and me that he knew our livelihood depended on being able to drive our fleet of vehicles. He assured us that when we needed fuel, if he had it we would be at the front of the line. He was a man of his word.
Later, when I joined the Kiwanis Club I got to know Chuck on another level. The major fundraising for Kiwanis in those years was selling roast beef sandwiches at an event called Moss Bay Days. For a number of years, Chuck, a fellow named Ray Dunlap and I would arrive early in the mornings to start the coals in the cookers and prepare the rounds of beef for cooking. Chuck and Ray were the chefs and I was their designated ‘apprentice’. A title I was never able to relinquish. We would spend a great deal of time just sitting, with Chuck and Ray bickering back and forth, all in good hearted spirit. Ray would always bring a mason jar with some scotch in it and at the appropriate time, (which was really any time) he would bring it out. And a tradition was started. Ray was possibly the only attorney I have ever known who barely had two nickels to rub together. It was not because he wasn’t good at his craft, but because he never wanted to overcharge somebody. Whenever Chuck got a bill for some of Rays legal services he always added money to it. That was the way Chuck was. The three of us would spend many years cooking, both the roast beef, and also salmon at our annual installation banquets. Always a little scotch would appear.
I had the opportunity to enjoy Chucks ‘rustic lodges’, as he called them, in Othello and at Long Beach on the ocean. In turn he and his wife Sue enjoyed time with us at our Lake Wenatchee cabin and at our farm in Ellensburg. When you were with Chuck conversation was never an issue, or opinions either. The man liked to talk.
When in my teens, I read from a book of lyrical poetry by Robert Service. There was a line in one of his poems that became a mantra in my life. It is, “a promise made is a debt unpaid”. I have gravitated towards people who are genuine. And Charlie was. What you saw was what you got. There wasn’t a time in all the years I knew him that he didn’t keep his word or fulfill a commitment that he made. An all too rarity in people today. When Charlie made a promise, you could take it to the bank.
I realize that to those unknowing, Chuck could appear a bit brash at times. And to be truthful while the boy left the East Coast, the East Coast persona never quite left him. Did I mention that Charlie liked to talk? Part of each lengthy conversation with him always expressed the pride, love, and devotion he had for his family. God gave Chuck a big body. He needed it. He had a big heart that needed that space.
I already miss my friend. But I’m certain when it’s my time to pass through those Golden Gates he will be waiting with a story and he and Ray will come up with a mason jar we can toast from.