Posts Tagged ‘in memory’

Tyler Dale, friend to all. (Photos courtesy Kathi Dale)

Tyler Dale was an original.

A kind, hard-working guy, he bopped to his own beat, while being one of those rare people who was well-liked by all.

During the three years we worked together at Christopher’s on Whidbey, he lit up the kitchen.

There was no job too big or too small for Tyler, and he thrived amid the heat and the splattering grease.

A slow Wednesday night or the middle of the never-ending storm that was the mussel festival, he was in his element.

Cooking, slicing ‘n dicing, or cleaning (he loved cleaning like no one I know), he always let loose with a steady stream of chatter and laughter which carried from one end of the cramped work space to the other.

Tyler passed too soon, but he will live on through his son, and the memories of all who crossed his path.


From his mom, Kathi Dale:

Tyler James Dale

September 30, 1990 – July 19, 2019

Born on September 30, 1990, growing up in Everett, Washington until the age of seven, when the family made the move to Whidbey Island.

He attended Coupeville Elementary School, where he was involved in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, loving the Pinewood Derby.

He loved working with Destination Imagination, to create and invent fun and amazing gadgets.

In middle school, Tyler was selected to participate in Day Star Academy with Mrs. (Liz) Sherman and Mrs. (Mendy) McLean-Stone, where his creativity was encouraged, working on “Tyler time.”

After a short time in Coupeville High School he then transferred to Bayview School.

Tyler was not a ‘book learner’ and learned best with hands-on experiences.

He then participated in job corp in Yachats, Oregon, where he received his General Education Degree (GED) in May, 2008.

Tyler began working at Christopher’s on Whidbey, as a dishwasher. Working his way up to prepping and a line cook.

This is where his creativity and love for cooking was advanced.

Being a “tinkerer” of many things. Beginning with models and bicycles.

One of his most favorite things was his Chevy S-10 trucks and blazers.

Tyler loved trucks, working on them, and sharing his knowledge with others.

Always making improvements and advances to make it go faster, having a custom look.

He enjoyed creating many things out of used items.

Tyler was gifted with an amazing analytical and problem-solving mind on how to make things work.

Tyler developed a love for the banjo and taught himself how to play. Something that brought that big silly smile to his face.

Two buddies hanging out.

After knowing each other since third grade and being close friends for many years, Tyler married Becca (Achurra) on May 18, 2013 in Moses Lake, Wa.

With the birth of their son, Craig James Ray Dale in December, 2016.

Tyler, wife Becca, and their son, Craig.

Tyler loved being a daddy to his son.

Teaching him “car things.”

Tyler, you are loved and missed.

Always a proud poppa.

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Father and son working the diamond together, as Jim (left) and Joel Wheat ump a softball game in 2018. (Connie Lippo photo)

Family, friends, and the community came together Saturday afternoon to remember Joel Wheat, who passed away Mar. 25 from complications with diabetes.

A 2007 graduate of Coupeville High School, he worked as a mechanic for the Boeing Co., but was best known for his work volunteering as a coach and umpire with Central Whidbey Little League.

Joel was following in the path of his dad, Jim, and the photo above captures a game where the duo umped together at the CHS softball diamond.

The video below is a beautiful tribute to a much-loved young man.


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Jamie “Senorita Smoke” Bartlett, enjoying her days as an Oak Harbor High School softball star. (Original photos by Geoff Newton)

So much joy every time she stepped on the diamond.

Jamie Bartlett was always so happy to be on a softball field.

Big win or tough loss, her joy at getting to play, her love for her teammates and her favorite game, is something which has always stuck with me.

Back in 1993, Jamie was a sophomore at Oak Harbor High School, and I, not quite six years older than her, was stumbling through a two-year run as Sports Editor at the Whidbey News-Times.

With not a single day of college to my credit, my run in the big chair had its highs and lows.

One of those peak moments was when I started referring to Jamie as “Senorita Smoke” because of the way she torched batters with her blazing fastball.

Many stories, and many nicknames later, I continue to write, and, while my focus has been firmly on Coupeville in recent years, I don’t forget my Oak Harbor roots.

From late ’89 to ’92 as a freelancer, and then ’92 to ’94 as Sports Editor, I covered many athletes whose names still invoke memories.

Manny Martucci to Natalie Turner, Gretchen Talmadge to Joe Sarpy and Pickle Sullivan, and two who have passed too soon.

Two years ago, we lost Jon Diem and now Jamie.

As I read her obit last night, discovering that my “Senorita Smoke” nickname was something which her family fondly remembered, the cancer she fought was a footnote, as it should be.

Instead, the focus was on her life with her husband, Joel, and her children, Joel, Jr. and Tayah, who are students at their mom’s alma mater.

It’s a story of a young woman of great promise who fulfilled that promise, who achieved much in what time she had.

I left the News-Times after Jamie’s sophomore year, so my image of her is somewhat frozen in time.

Staring down batters from behind her glasses, then zipping fastballs past their bats, #11 was a star. Her pitching records still stand at OHHS two decades later for a reason.

But, while the the individual strikeouts, which came one after another, fade into memory, it’s the happiness which stays with me.

Jamie played with pure joy, every single time I saw her on the diamond, and it spread to her teammates.

I am sad for her family and friends. They shouldn’t have to lose someone so dear to them just shy of her 42nd birthday.

But I am also happy for them, that they got to be part of her life, and to be touched by her joy.

Our paths crossed briefly, a writer in his early 20’s, and an athlete on the cusp of going from a teen prodigy to an all-time Wildcat legend.

A part of “Senorita Smoke” will always be with me, forever kickin’ and firin’, forever lighting up the diamond with nothing but pure joy.


To read Jamie’s obituary, jump to:


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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 (left), here with Jennifer Spark and Troy Cowan, passed away Thursday. (Photo courtesy Kali Barrio)

   Manker was an assistant with both the girls and boys teams at CHS, specializing in working with goalkeepers. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Coupeville High School assistant soccer coach Gary Manker passed away suddenly Thursday.

A gentle giant who worked extensively with the Wolf goalkeepers, he coached with both the CHS boys and girls teams.

As the news swept through a close-knit soccer community, many of his players remembered Manker fondly.


Lauren Grove:

Although I never had Manker as a “coach,” I did have the opportunity to work with him in goal on a couple occasions.

He was really encouraging and I could tell that he had a passion for soccer and wanted to teach us goalies valuable skills.

So sad to hear of his passing. Coupeville was lucky to have him and he’ll definitely be missed.


McKayla Bailey:

Honestly I was so sorry and saddened to hear about this.

He was such an amazing coach and a great person all around.


Julia Myers:

Manker was one of the most amazing and influential people throughout my high school career.

I don’t think high school soccer would have been the same without him; he truly made it what it was.

He supported me and all of the girls continuously in everything we did.

He taught me so much in the years he was my coach, and I’m so thankful.


Mckenzie Meyer:

Manker was an amazing coach. He pushed us to work hard but it always was worth it.

He was so supportive and always encouraged us no matter what. He will be missed.


Sarah Wright:

Never playing soccer before I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing, but Manker was always really encouraging and an awesome coach.

I didn’t know him super well, as he was busy during our season and couldn’t always make practice, but I could tell that he knew a lot about soccer, and loved to coach and help young athletes not only grow as players, but also as people.


Joel Walstad:

Coach Manker was one of the most encouraging coaches I’ve ever had. He was always positive and looked on the bright side.

He took me under his wing, and showed me what it took to be a goalie. He was truly one of a kind.

Coupeville lost a great man. My thoughts and prayers are out to his family.


Brian Roberts:

Not only was he my coach, but he was like a father figure to me.

He did not just teach me drills and soccer skills, he taught me life skills and helped me train to be stronger physically and mentally.

He was always there before and after practice to talk about home stuff and what he could do to help.

He never gave up on me even when I wanted to quit soccer for good; he got me to play and continue to love the sport.

He has massively helped me grow as a player and as a person.

Because of him I was able to overcome some of the hardest points in my life and for that I am forever grateful.

He may not be physically on the field with us but will forever be in our hearts. R.I.P Coach Manker.

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