Bernard Joseph Laurie was born Feb. 14, 1926 in Juneau, Alaska to A. Melvin and Hildegarde Lorz Laurie and died April 1, 2010 in Tonasket, from complications that began with a fall in February.
When he was less than a year old, the family returned to the Bonnie Brae homestead in Wauconda, where he attended Wauconda Grade School and graduated from Republic High School in 1943.
After joining the U.S. Navy in 1944 and taking basic training at Farragut Naval Training Station at Athol, Idaho, he spent his time as a Navy gunner on the oil ship S.S. Stanvac Wellington making several trips between Aruba, New Zealand, Australia and through the Panama Canal. Upon his honorable discharge in 1946, he returned to Tonasket and was employed at Brownson Lumber. On Jan. 9, 1949 he married Ida M. Runyan in Tonasket and they recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. In 1951 they moved south of Okanogan and he continued his employment with Brownson Lumber in Okanogan, then in 1955 began a long career with Biles-Coleman Lumber Company, where he made many pieces of furniture for his family, including a playhouse from scrap lumber. He also became an aficionado of the company’s Dutch Boy Royal Blue paint, using it for nearly everything paintable in the orchard that was purchased in the move to Elmway in 1956. You can still see remnants of the blue ladders, tractors, garden tools and lawn furniture. In 1970 he purchased adjacent and nearby orchard property and spent the next 25 years as a full time orchardist. Even after selling the orchards and removing the apple trees from the original home property, he continued to grow trees; different types of deciduous and evergreen trees, always in the same perfect rows. One of his proudest achievements in tree growing was, after numerous tries, keeping a Tamarack alive, a tree that grew so well he had to cut it down after just a few years. He collected old implement wheels, painting them John Deere green and yellow and decorating the property. His annual vegetable garden, large yard and voracious reading of western novels filled in the rest of his spare time.
A 40-year member of The Washington State Grange, Bernard and Ida were honored as state Grangers of the Year in 2003. He also served as Okanogan and Pomona Grange Master and Treasurer for a number of years. As a member of the Okanogan County Historical Society and Museum, he and Ida were voted Pioneers of the Year in 1998. He also spent many hours with Okanogan Senior Center activities, the Sagebrush Ramblers camping group, and playing pinochle and bridge. A devout Catholic, Bernard was a lifelong member of St. Agnes and Our Lady of the Valley Parishes and volunteered with the building of the former Christ the King School in Omak where all his children attended.
He is survived by his wife, Ida, of the family home; daughters: Phyllis Laurie, Santa Cruz County, Calif.; RuthAnn (Jerry) Young, Emigrant, Mont.; Marilyn Laurie (Charles Paschal), Annandale, Va.; and Irene Jordan, Okanogan; one son, Jeff (Ginnii) Laurie, Orting, Wash.; one brother, Ted (Sherrie) Laurie, Tonasket; grandchildren: Kristen (Reed) Walker, Bryan (Kelly) Smith, Seth Laurie, and Emily Laurie; great-grandsons: Tyler Walker and soon to be joining the family, Max Smith; 10 nieces and nephews; and numerous cousins and grand-nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Mildred Morgan.
Rosary Service was Tuesday, April 6 and Memorial Mass was held Wednesday, April 7, 2010 both at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church on Elmway. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Okanogan Historical Museum or a charity of your choice.