Obituary of Gerald Frederick Titchenal
Gerald F Titchenal passed away in the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 24th, 2019 at the tender age of 87 and a half, at Providence Brookside Memory Care, in Hood River, Oregon. He leaves behind his five children… Cathy Titchenal, Joe Titchenal (Susan), Jeanne Cameron (Pete), Jay Titchenal, Beth Sauter (David), his eight grandchildren… Cathy’s daughter Naomi (Aldrin Posini), Joe’s children Allison, Emily and Sam, Jeanne’s sons Clint and Daniel, Beth’s children William and Hannah and his five great grandchildren… Cathy’s grandchildren, Naomi’s children Matthias, Joella, Judah, namesake Nehemiah Gerald and little Pearl Posini, and he also leaves behind his second wife Marilyn Mostert Misner Titchenal. He was preceded in death by his first wife Mary Anne “Theresa” Stevens Titchenal to whom he was married for nearly 50 years from January 7th, 1955 until June 26th, 2004 when she passed away. He then later met and married his second wife Marilyn, who had also been widowed for a time, and they married on February 1, 2006. They have been happily married for the last 13 years and the extended families have melded together well.
Gerald was preceded in death by his parents and all of his siblings and their respective spouses. Only his brother-in-law Norman Stevens and his second wife Marilyn remain now from this generation of our family. He is survived by many nieces and nephews, and cousins and many dear friends made over a lifetime.
Gerald was born on November 30th, 1931, in Peshastin-Dryden, Washington, into the early days of the great depression. Times were difficult but his family worked hard and they survived and thrived. He went to school and worked with his father on the family dairy farm there in the Chumstick Valley, near Leavenworth, milking cows and during the summer months, working as a camp cook and guide on horseback trips into the north Cascades. During his school years, he excelled in math and enjoyed reading, especially western novels by Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey and he played football and basketball and of course, enjoyed skiing. He graduated from Leavenworth High School in 1951. Leavenworth is an alpine town nestled on the eastern slopes of the north Cascades at the confluence of the Wenatchee River and the Icicle River. It has been a place where the Olympic ski teams train, especially the ski jumpers and is now known as the “Bavarian Village”, a destination location for tourism, year round recreation and winter sports. The family farm in the Chumstick Valley was about 235 acres that included a timbered mountainside and a fertile valley floor with a creek meandering through, perfect for raising the dairy cows. It also had one mean hillside, perfect for building a personal ski jump, which Gerald spent a whole day doing one young wintertime. He told the story of how he finished the slope so he could climb up the hill and ski down it and on the first run he made, he barely missed a large fir tree and decided that it might be better not to tempt fate a second time. But he was an avid skier and a natural athlete, teaching his kids to swim, ride their bicycles and play all kinds of sports as they were growing up.
Gerald served for three years in the US Air Force as an airman and radio operator as part of an air crew, fluent in Morse Code and was honorably discharged towards the end of the Korean War years. It was while he was stationed at Dow AFB in Maine, that he met his first wife Theresa at a dance and they fell in love and later married, choosing to get married on the 36th wedding anniversary of his own parents Joseph Ray Titchenal and Eunice Annie Thurston. Gerald and Theresa were married and lived in Old Town, Maine for the first year and a half, had their first child Cathy there in Maine and then in the late summer of 1956, they moved back to Washington State, to Leavenworth, where Gerald had grown up. Gerald then went to work at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery and worked there for the US Department of Fish and Wildlife as a hatchery man until 1963, when they transferred to the Columbia Gorge where he went to work at the Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery at Cook, WA. He worked there as a hatchery man and later as the maintenance man until he retired in 1989. Gerald also obtained his real estate license and after retiring from the hatchery, went full time with real estate, doing very well. He purchased his own real estate office from a retiring broker and worked in real estate for the next several years, retiring again in 2006 and embarking on new adventures with travel with his second wife Marilyn. They went to Tahiti for their honeymoon and cruised to New Zealand and elsewhere in the South Pacific. They made their home together in Carson and were happy for many years together there.
Over the years of his life, Gerald enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, playing wicked good games of pinochle and cribbage and he loved to play bingo, blackjack and was a competitive Texas Hold’em poker player too. In life, whatever was needed doing, he found a way to get it done. He often worked more than one or two jobs at a time, had a big garden, a milk cow, some beef calves, chickens, rabbits and hunted for deer and occasionally worked running a backhoe when called upon to earn extra money. He built furniture for his growing family’s needs and he knew how to repair all the vehicles. He taught his young wife how to cook and all of his kids how to drive. He had the patience of Job, but it was well understood that when he spoke, his children had better listen. He was a good listener too. He was dependable, reliable, honest and well respected by his family, friends and the community. He was a devout convert to Catholicism and quietly generous. He hated war and cherished peace, but understood the importance of fair play and would say to his kids: “Never do anything to bring shame upon the family name; you can’t buy a good reputation so don’t lose yours; do an honest day’s work for your pay; don’t start any fights but if you’re drawn into one, make sure you finish it and always be a good sport.” He lived his life as a good example for others to follow, whether it was as a faithful husband, a loving father, a good neighbor or a prayerful believer in God. He had a ready smile, a hearty laugh and an understanding heart. If there was only one thing to remember about Gerald, it would be that he loved his whole family unconditionally and he fought very hard not to leave us until God finally called him home.
A memorial service for Gerald Titchenal, who passed away on July 24, 2019, will be held on Saturday, August 3, 2019 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in White Salmon. Please check back for a complete obituary.