Harold Odegaard

Longtime Sumas resident Harold Odegaard, age 84, passed away on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 after failing health. Harold was known for his high moral character and his generous, faithful and giving spirit to his family, friends and community.

Harold LaRue Odegaard was born on Aug. 30, 1932 at Marrilyn Cottage Hospital in Sumas to Harold K. and Laurel (Clark) Odegaard. He had one younger brother, Gary. His family moved from Kendall when he was 7 1/2 years old to a farm near Sumas. Growing up on the farm instilled a strong work ethic in Harold, which he exemplified throughout his life. He attended first and second grades in an old two-room schoolhouse at Kendall, completed his elementary schooling through grade 8 at Sumas Grade School and graduated from Nooksack Valley High School in May 1950. Harold enlisted in the U.S. Navy for four years and was discharged in 1954. He then attended Western Washington University in Bellingham, receiving his bachelor’s degree in education in 1958. On Sept. 22, 1955, Harold married Patricia G. Pinkey in Sumas. He began his teaching career in 1958 for the Nooksack Valley School District and remained there until his retirement in 1987. He was then hired by Whatcom County in 1988 as the senior center manager for Everson, Sumas, Welcome and Ferndale, a position he held for 10 years. Harold’s musical talents included singing old songs, playing his guitar, mandolin, harmonica, kazoo and nose harp, and he always enjoyed telling a clean joke.

His love for people and students was evident as he voluntarily presented programs in the community and student classrooms, care facilities and senior centers. In his younger years, he spent a lot of time skiing with his friend, John Romberg, at Mount Baker. Harold was appreciative and proud of his country, community and the many wonderful friendships he shared, as well as his caring family. Harold’s father immigrated from Norway as a young man in 1923 and Harold had numerous cousins in Norway. A very patriotic man, Harold was a dedicated member for over 50 years of Sumas American Legion Post #212, where he served as commander in 1957 and 1958.

Harold was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Patricia (Pinkey) Odegaard, in 2005; his second wife of one and a half years, Lois Springer Odegaard; his parents; his stepmother, Frieda (Fuller) Odegaard; and a grandson, Blake Rowe.

Harold is survived by his son, Darin and wife Lisa Odegaard of Curlew; daughter, Sally Jo and husband Rob McPhaden of Mount Vernon; brother Gary and wife Kay Odegaard of Centralia; grandchildren Jason Harold Rowe, Dallas Rowe, Nathan and Abigale Odegaard, Brittany and Tyler Johnson; great-grandchildren Rylynn Rowe, Paisley Rowe, Ocean Rowe, Jaden Rowe, Anna Marie Rowe, Lacey, Monica and Kelli Rhodes; and nephews Greg and Jeff Odegaard. He will be missed by numerous other nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

You are invited to join the family for time of visitation from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, in Gillies Funeral Home, Lynden. A graveside service, with military honors, will be at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, in Sumas Cemetery followed by a celebration of Harold’s life at 12 noon in the Sumas Advent Christian Church, 125 Front St., Sumas, with Pastor Carl Crouse officiating.

Memorials are suggested to the Sumas American Legion, 134 Harrison St., Sumas, WA 98295; the Sumas Senior Center, 451 W. Second St., Sumas, WA 98295; or Autism Society of America, www.autism-society.org.

You are invited to sign the online guest book at www.gilliesfuneralhome.com.

Arrangements are entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Lynden.