John Abraham Figenshow

John Abraham Figenshow
John Abraham Figenshow

John Abraham Figenshow, 96, was a proud native of Tonasket, born to homesteading parents, Knut Hjalmar and Gjertrude (Anderson) Figenschou on July 28, 1918. He died Monday, March 2, 2015 after hospitalization for multiple infections with his family honoring his wishes for comfort and dignity.

In John’s early years, the family moved from the homestead on Whitestone Mountain to an apple orchard/farm south of town that his father purchased from Chief Tonasket. He was schooled through 8th grade, but was needed to help run the farm and provide for his mother and seven siblings after his father’s death in 1929.

Like most of their generation, the Figenshows volunteered their service to the U.S. Military during World War II. Agnes and Mary Ann served as Navy nurses, Knute joined the Air Force, Carl was an Army paratrooper, and John was a Navy Seebee serving in the South Pacific.

John’s prior construction experience (building road from Ephrata to Spokane, the Omak Airport) made him an invaluable contributor to the war effort. Of all of his many accomplishments in life, he spoke of his service as a Seebee with great pride.

After his honorable discharge, he went on to fulfill his dream of owning/ driving his own truck, going on to own a fleet of trucks. Figenshow Trucking, once one of the largest independent firms in Washington, hauled a variety of commodities including equipment, hay, fruit, livestock, and lumber, with John as owner/operator for over 50 years.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, his connections with firms involved with hydro-electric dam projects in the Pacific Northwest allowed expansion into more transportation and lumber brokering, as they turned to him to supply their lumber needs.

Along with the start of his business, he started a family. He met Zella (Jezelle Werbiski) from Alberta; they married in 1950 and had three daughters, and one son who died in infancy. Zella died in 1973.

He then met Ann (Black/Woodard) and they enjoyed 40 years together happily married. He was step-dad to her children and they had many adventures together, contributing to their community both together and as individuals.

After 1985, he focused only on lumber, letting go of any livestock permits and equipment. By 2005 he sold his last tractors and trailers but he continued to do what he loved; to buy and sell lumber into his last decade of life.

John was a member of the American Legion Post 82 and the Elks Club of Omak and a founding member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Tonasket.

John is survived by his wife, Ann Figenshow; his children: Janet Rae Miller (Robert), Sharmon Figenshow, (Peter Arneil), Pamela Koss (Andy); step-children: Johnnie (Nancee) Woodard, Gincy (Harvey) Beck, Connie (Arlan) Grytdal and Todd (Liz) Woodard; siblings: Knute Figenshow of Anacortes, and Lillian “Babe” Stansbury of Loomis; grandchildren: Max and Jess Eastwood (Janet), Ciara and Abby Hendrickson (Sharmon), John (Jack) Koss (Pamela), and step-grandchildren: Ross Woodard (Johnnie), Kennedy and Taylor Woodard (Todd).

He was preceeded in death by his first wife, Zella, a son, Kenneth; two brothers, Danker and Carl, and four sisters: Martha Tompkins, Ethel Grier, Agnes Sype, and Mary Ann Norton.

A celebration of John’s life will be held at 12 noon on Saturday, March 28 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 213 South Western Avenue, in Tonasket with John Newton, officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name can be made to the (Tonasket) U.S. Armed Forces Legacy Project ( or cause of your choice. Please share your memories by signing John’s online guestbook

Arrangements are made by Bergh Funeral Service of Oroville and Tonasket.