Cover photo for Stanley Reynolds's Obituary
Stanley Reynolds Profile Photo
1926 Stanley 2018

Stanley Reynolds

October 19, 1926 — February 7, 2018

Stanley Ellis Reynolds passed away on February 7, 2018 in Bellingham, WA. Stan was born on October 19, 1926 in Bellingham, WA to Homer and Neola (Tolle) Reynolds in a home built by his father on farmland in Fort Bellingham, which he returned to upon retirement and continued to reside in until his passing. He attended Marietta School from 1st-8th grade, Whatcom Jr. High for 9th, and Bellingham High for 10th-12th. He played basketball at Marietta and enjoyed the friendship of Lummi students which continued through high school. He shared with his family his appreciation of the Lummi people throughout his life.
He joined the Merchant Marines in July 1945, following graduation, and traveled to Okinawa on a Liberty ship, the “Henry George” which was delivering dynamite for the war effort, as the U.S. prepared Okinawa as the base for a planned invasion of Japan, and sailing through Typhoon Louise which upended the American fleet there. He was “ordered” off the bow (i.e. “get the hell off the deck!” through a loudspeaker), having snuck up to witness 40-foot waves. He returned to California with the ship, and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in March of 1946. He was based in Hawaii till he shipped out to China as a PFC in Aircraft and Base Maintenance, where he guarded oil reserves and ammunition, as well as aviation fuel on trains to Beibing (as known at the time). He was fascinated by life in China, observing farmers taking their produce to market, camping outside city walls and chanting and singing by campfires into the night. He remembered being saddened to see young impoverished children with flies on their faces. And recalled distinctly his flight over the Great Wall. He was most proud of his tenure as a “China Marine”. It was true for him that “there is no such thing as a former Marine”.
Stan returned to Hawaii in January, 1947, receiving an Honorable Discharge as the war ended. He returned home to Bellingham to attend WWSC, now WWU, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in education and later a Master’s equivalent in School Counseling. He married Neva Marie McIntyre in 1950 in Seattle after meeting at WWU. They began their family in Burien and Des Moines, moving to Kent in 1968. Stan began his long career in Highline School District, beginning as a 6th grade teacher and basketball coach at Boulevard Park Elementary, where he began a girls’ team, teacher and vice principal at Sunset Junior High, and school counselor and driver’s education teacher at Mount Rainier High School, till he retired after 40 years in education to his childhood home in Bellingham. He and Neva travelled to Hawaii, France, Scotland, and Ireland, and cruised the Caribbean together; earlier, he had visited Kenya, Egypt, Greece, and Turkey. He subsequently cared for Neva at home during years of lengthy illness, setting an extraordinary example for us all. After her death in 2009, he traveled to see daughter Laurie in Bucharest, seeing Iceland, Italy, Romania, and the UK and meeting new friends en route, to Costa Rica with Bellingham Senior Center, to New York City to see his granddaughter, and to Boston, where he revisited the U.S.S. Constitution, which he had last seen as a boy of seven in 1933, as it completed its Children’s Penny Tour around U.S. coasts. He remembered that childhood experience vividly, and helped to send to the U.S.S. Constitution Museum numerous photos of its visit to Bellingham from our local museum archives, which the Constitution museum had not known existed. He hilariously concocted stories of his time aboard the Constitution as a child, making it impossible to send along his actual memory of going aboard! Stan also explored Washington, D.C. in recent years, hosted by family there, with son Steve, seeing the WWII Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Smithsonian museums, as well as many other treasured sites. He explored Eastern Washington geology from the seat of a jetski. Just last spring, Stan enjoyed a visit to family and friends, with hikes in the desert nearby, in Phoenix, Arizona. He was enthralled by the world, and was an independent traveler into his late 80’s. Stan loved his hunting dogs, training a small collection of beloved canine friends over the years for his sport of pheasant hunting, which he was taught by his brother, Gordon, who left him his shotgun and beloved dog when he did not return from Normandy. He supported Laurie’s pilgrimage to Normandy last fall to research his brother’s Normandy war story. Stan kept up with friends from his childhood, losing more each year, but was sustained by his friendships with people of every age who he befriended along the way. Stan followed politics closely and felt strongly about issues currently in the news, remaining opposed to “elective” war his entire life and supporting progressive policies of compassion.
Stan fished for a time on reef-net boats off of Lummi Island and Point Roberts, and worked other varied jobs during “summers off” from teaching, including house-painting and sanding bowling alleys. He was a summer school principal in Highline.
Stan was a thoroughly involved father and husband. He taught us to fish, hunt, camp, waterski, and sail, to ride bikes and play ball in its many forms. He hunted every year for decades, only missing 2016, as a tradition shared with Steve. With our mother, he showed us some of the region’s most beautiful sites, and the west’s most striking national parks, lakes, and beaches. He supported our education choices, set high expectations for us, and always kindly offered his guidance and wisdom when requested; we valued his thoughtful and considered ideas. His deep respect and care for our mother was perhaps his greatest gift to us.
Certainly among his greatest loves was sailing, which he and Neva taught themselves in their 50’s, almost always with daughter Robin as crew on board his first sailboat, Sanderling. He sailed his beloved Ericson, Mandolin Wind, for the last 34 years and through his final summer, and was already preparing for the next sailing season. He taught many of us to sail with great patience and kindness. We are left to carry on, while heartbroken, also inspired by his extraordinary life and our impossible expectation that he would always be there in strength and independence as he was for more than 91 years.
Our dad was predeceased by our beloved mother Neva Marie Reynolds, and his three siblings Dale Reynolds in 2015, Maxine Snider in 1979, and Gordon Reynolds in Normandy, France, 1944. With his brother’s loss in WWII, Stan determined to take good care of himself and live as long and good a life as possible “for my brother, who didn’t get to live a full life”. Stan is survived by his three children Laurie Reynolds Winters, Steven (Kaylen) Reynolds and Robin (Joseph) Wenderski; his three grandchildren Briar Winters of NYC, Claire Winters of Ellensburg, and Jeffrey Reynolds of Seatac, and one great-grandson Robin Suronen; his sister-in-law Irene DuShane of Arizona and brother-in-law Arlie Curtis of Oregon, many nieces and nephews, friends he met during his long life, and a collection of especially dear friends amongst his neighbors. He is also survived by his cherished golden retriever Brody, who remains in the family. Private family services with military honors will be held at a future date. Memorials may be made to Stan’s longtime favorite charity Greenpeace, or to Community Boating, Bellingham, and their programs for at-risk children. Kindly share your memories on the Westford website at http://www.westfordfuneralhome.com .
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