Garry Wegner

Obituary of Garry Earl Wegner

Our beloved Garry has left us bereft by his unexpected passing. He died peacefully in his sleep – the only redeeming feature of the sorrow of losing him.


The son of Earl and Emma Wegner, Garry grew up in Poulsbo, WA. After graduating from Central Kitsap High, he was educated at Pacific Lutheran University and went on to earn a law degree from the University of Washington. While in law school, during the summer of ‘64, Garry married his high school sweetheart, Susan Hillesland.


After graduation, he joined the Air Force and was stationed at Fort Lawton, ending his service as a major after four years. He was thrilled to become a father to two cherished daughters. He worked as a Deputy Prosecutor with the King County Prosecutor’s Office and went on to become a WA State Assistant Attorney General. Thereafter, he worked as the Deputy Director of the WA State Criminal Justice Training Commission. For 20 years at the Commission, his goal was to positively influence generations of police officers. He wanted police to recognize and respect their own rights, respect the rights of the people, follow the law and, thus, be better equipped to do their job. One effort he was particularly proud of was helping to bring the D.A.R.E. program to the state of Washington. In his long career he promoted justice.


After retirement from state service, Garry became the administrator of the Criminal Justice program at Highline Community College. In this position for fifteen years, he was a popular instructor and relished working with his students. Garry never complained about the pressures of his work because he loved what he did and always strove to be a positive force in the world. A generous guy, it was important to Garry to contribute to charity and help those in need.


A natural entertainer and raconteur, Garry had a special ability to roast friends in his dozens of irreverent plays and “birthday books”. Friends often have said they never laughed as much as they did with Garry. He was a very funny man and he kept us in stitches with his jokes and storytelling all these years. He was a rare gem. 


Garry was a fisherman. His dad taught him to fly-fish in Montana and his Boy Scout leader introduced him to hiking the Olympics and the Washington coast. Mountain hiking was tolerated as long as there was fishing at the end! For more than 20 years Garry organized annual hikes to the ocean out of Lake Ozette with family and friends. He fly-fished in Canada and Washington, and salmon-fished in Alaska at least annually with a group of close buddies who called themselves “The Cheese Club”. (Long story.)  


Garry was incredibly creative and a gifted watercolor artist. His paintings have been treasured gifts to appreciative friends. He was a voracious reader in many genres and always followed news, politics and sports. He worked New York Times crossword puzzles every morning and recently devised two puzzles of his own.


Garry often expressed how happy he was to be blessed with his family and lifelong friendships. He and Susan traveled to China after he retired and went on many amazing European adventures with four of their closest friends. 


Garry is survived by his adoring wife of 58 years, Susan; his daughters Gretchen Cook (Patrick) and Allison Wegner (Charlie Balee); his grandchildren Matthew and Chloe Cook; his sister Rebecca Wheeler (Bob); and all of his cherished nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends.


We didn’t want to let him go but we cannot overcome physics — so, to paraphrase a favorite niece’s tribute, we say, “Fly free to that great fishing boat in the sky, Garry. Reel in a good one."

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