Archive for the ‘In memory’ Category

Ginny Vracin

Working for 12+ years at Videoville, I came in contact with a lot of customers.

One of the nicest was Ginny Vracin, who always had a smile and a nice word for me, even when the movie I recommended wasn’t her cup of tea.

Mrs. Vracin, who passed away Mar. 26 at the age of 72, was a wonderful woman and she and her husband, Dr. Wylie Vracin, were always a welcome sight in my video store days.

All four of their children — Emily, Nicholas, Damon and Danielle — have grown up to be talented, outgoing and deeply caring, very much like their parents.

There was a service for Ginny last Friday, but I just wanted to share two things here.

A video tribute, which you can see below, and the words her family offered.

In lieu of flowers, they instead asked, “Please welcome all who cross your path, smile incessantly, frequent garage sales, reuse everything imaginable, volunteer your time and passions and pick up trash on walks in memory of our sweet Ginny.”


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Coupeville High School soccer coach Gary Manker (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A memorial service for Coupeville High School soccer coach Gary Manker will be held Saturday, Feb. 10.

It will be at the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge Hall (63 Jacobs Road) and run from 2-4 PM.

Manker, who coached both girls and boys soccer, was a noted “goalkeeper whisperer,” working with the Wolf net-minders over the years.

He passed away suddenly Jan. 26.

Manker, who was born in Petaluma, Calif. May 4, 1968, is survived by wife Patti Manker, son Garritt Manker (Talisa), daughters Ashley Bailey (Eric), Amanda Smith (Ryan), stepchildren Riley, Tim and JT Quinn and grandchildren Adeline, Sawyer and Lillie.

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Joel Brown (left) and his son and grandson. (Photos courtesy Matt Brown)

Joel Brown, a vital part of a much-loved Coupeville family, passed away Friday night.

The following remembrance is courtesy his son, Matt:

Joel Nelson Brown was born on July 17, 1957 to Leonard and Patricia Brown in Coupeville, Washington. He was the youngest of three boys.

Joel completed school and went on to the Coast Guard.

He married Shelley Alexander and they had one son, Matt. They also adopted a second son, Scott.

Joel had many jobs and positions in the Coupeville community.

He was on the school board, owned and operated Genesis Hair Care in Greenbank and Coupeville, was a Hunters Education instructor, and worked for the Navy Exchange in Oak Harbor and other states.

He came back to Washington and lived in Bellingham where he was a manager for the Nooksack Casino.

Joel moved back to Coupeville and while living with his brother became ill and contracted a blood infection that severely damaged his spine.

After several emergency surgeries the doctors were able to save his life but could not save his spine. He was a quadriplegic.

Joel spent the last year of his life in Harborview, then the Seattle VA spinal cord unit and finally moved into Retsil Veterans Home in Port Orchard in July of 2017.

Through it all Joel remained the funny, sarcastic and loving man he always was.

He never complained about his limitations and the intense treatments and care he had to receive daily.

He made a point to give all he could to his family and be a force for good in their lives and in the lives of those around him.

Joel again became ill in December of 2017 and contracted an infection as a result of his quadriplegia and his body could not recover.

After many weeks in the hospital without improvement Joel and his family wanted him to come home to Retsil to be comfortable and surrounded with the people who cared for him.

Joel passed away peacefully and quietly on the evening of January 19, 2018.

He was with family and the staff who cared for him when he passed.

Joel is survived by his brothers, Patrick and Barry, his sons, Matt and Scott and his beloved grandchildren Kayleigh, Hunter and Jackson.

A celebration of life is being planned and will be announced.

We know many people want to be there and are tentatively planning it for the late spring in Coupeville.


To help the Brown family, pop over to:



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Stacie “Farm Dog” Farmer

The beauty of Stacie Farmer’s soul remains with us every day.

When I run into people who went to school with her, when I see where life has taken them in the seven years since Farm Dog passed from our world, I hear echoes of her.

Whether she’s explicitly mentioned or not, Stacie is still here with all who knew her.

Her joy, her embrace of life and everyone living it, her utter devotion to all she embraced as friends — and I have yet to meet someone who knew Stacie who didn’t feel like they were her friend — was as deep as that shown by anyone.

Farm Dog didn’t sit back and wait for life to come to her. She reached out and seized every moment, and, in her 24 years, she made everyone, and every thing she touched, better for it.

I remember her hanging out at Videoville and Miriam’s Espresso, her laughter bouncing off the walls, and I remember her charging in to every softball game she played with a wild, giddy abandon.

After graduation, Stacie toured the world, from foreign countries to little rivers in the back country of the US, and every picture I have seen, every story I have heard, comes back to the same thing — joy.

It was easy seven years ago, and it is easy now, to be mad at her death, which was tragic and senseless.

The pain was eased a bit, hopefully, by seeing how Stacie’s decision to be an organ donor helped others.

Five different people received an invaluable assist.

In one case, a woman battling a rare liver disease has since gone on to have a “miracle baby” thanks to the second chance Farm Dog brought her.

There are those who will forever have a deep, personal connection to Stacie — her family, her closest friends, those who now carry a physical part of her with them every day.

But she is with all of us, whether we knew her for a moment or a lifetime.

Stacie is with us when we choose to show kindness.

Stacie is with us when we embrace others.

Stacie is with us when we live life well, when we honor her legacy — “bhavuta sabba mangalam” — “may all beings be happy.”

She is with us yesterday, today and tomorrow. She is with us every day.

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Charlie Toth

A memorial service for Charlie Toth has been set for Friday, Sept. 1.

Toth, who graduated from Coupeville High School in 1976, played on the ’75-’76 Wolf boys basketball team which made it to the state tourney, and was an ardent supporter of my efforts as a writer.

The service is 11 AM at The Stone Chapel (22272 Foss Road NE) in Poulsbo, with a reception to follow.

There will be a general theme of Husky colors (purple and gold) as Toth was a University of Washington football season ticket holder and devoted fan for many years.

His obituary:

Charles (Charlie) Toth finished his work on Earth on Thursday, June 8 after fighting a rare, inoperable brain tumor for more than 14 years.

He was an extraordinary individual, always interested in those he crossed paths with.

Charlie was a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, neighbor and friend.

He never complained about his situation, and graciously accepted and adapted to the many challenges that brain cancer threw at him.

He was very grateful for those who cared for him: his wife Val, daughter Shelby, stepdaughter Veronica, family, friends, and medical team.

His optimism consistently amazed his doctors and caregivers.

Charlie was a Northwest native, born in Seattle.

He graduated from Coupeville High School on Whidbey Island, and subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree (with honors) in economics from the University of Washington.

Charlie initially lived in the south campus dorms, where he met many of his longtime friends and also worked for a time as a resident advisor.

He was a lifelong UW Husky fan and Husky football season ticket holder.

Charlie began working at a very young age, washing dishes, cooking, and bucking hay.

He wanted to make sure that he never asked anyone for anything that he couldn’t do himself.

He insisted on paying his own college tuition and expenses, and at one time worked two full-time jobs (Equifax and Nintendo) in order to save money for a down payment to buy his first home.

He worked for and retired from Equifax after 26 years.

Charlie married Valen Monell on a Caribbean cruise in 1999.

They made their home in Poulsbo where they raised her daughter, Veronica, then welcomed their daughter Shelby in 2002.

He is survived by Val, Veronica, Shelby, his mother Barbara, sisters Patti, Jennifer, Melissa and Janet, brothers-in-law Vic, Mike, Randy, Bob, Roland and Terry, sisters-in-law Janelle and Dahlia, and many nephews and nieces.

His father Alex and niece Katie predeceased him.

Charlie’s kindness knew no boundaries.

Despite his illness, he volunteered at Seattle Children’s Hospital, never letting on about his own health struggles.

Charlie spoke at local schools, teaching students about the importance of personal finance and using credit responsibly.

Charlie was a Big Brother, mentoring a young man from the age of eight.

His Little Brother Jason (now 30) has stayed in touch and let us all know how much his Big Brother meant to him.

Charlie loved to travel with his family and friends, including several cruises and some especially memorable trips to London and Edinburgh.

Even in this final year, he had travel plans for this year and next, never letting his brain tumor slow him down or define him.

His friends visited the care facility many times over the past months, often bringing Charlie’s favorite foods such as sandwiches from Hitchcock Deli and the Grub Hut, and tacos from El Camion.

Most of all they brought laughter and banter, which always made for great visits.

We wish to thank UW Medicine, Duke University, Swedish Cherry Hill, Martha & Mary, CHI Franciscan Hospice House, doctors Toni Roberts and Tara Benkers, and the many other doctors, nurses, physical/occupational/speech therapists, massage therapists, acupuncturist, pastors, chaplains, and volunteers who accompanied Charlie and his family on this journey.

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