Jon Could Never Be Embarrassed

Jon could never be embarrassed, but had no problem doing or saying things that embarrassed those around him wither long time friends, family or new acquaintance. This was especially true when he chose to wear his Speedos to Sarc or water parks we went to as kids. Even though we always objected to him wearing it, he wore it with pride. I can remember this one particular time when we were at a water park some where in Eastern Washington one summer while we were camping. He of course wanted to come with us in the pools, and wore his green Speedo. We had been there for several hours and my brother and I decided to hang out in the wading pool. We happened to sit next to a couple of other people who noticed Jon walking around and were commenting to each other about how great he looked in his attire :) My brother and I just listened and smiled. At one point Jon walked by trying to find us and didn't notice us sitting in the pool and the people noticed that Jon's Speedo had a hole in the butt. Upon realizing this the people next to us grew more and more displeased with Jon's choice of swim suite and my brother and I kept on pretending we didn't know him. We eventually did go find him and explained he needed to toss that pair out, but I can't remember if we were able to convince him. Jon we will miss you so much and even your Speedos. 
-Megan Schomaker

Port Hardy

During the summer of 2003 Dad and I spent a week together a small skiff with an outboard motor fishing the archipelago on the North tip of Vancouver Island near Port Hardy.  We had our good fishing days and we had our bad fishing days, however, the most memorable experience from that trip started one foggy morning.  We departed the floating lodge just as we had the preceding, considerably sunnier mornings.  The land faded quickly as we sped out into the cold, drenching fog. Learned from a series of previous fog-fishing calamities just back across the border on the Olympic Peninsula years before, Dad cleverly brought a GPS unit, a relatively new arrival to the commercial market. 

As we disappeared into the grey, monotonous fog Dad’s attention immediately turned downward to his GPS that would guide us to our destination.   The intent was to travel a significant distance to the outer rim of Islands, passing through a series of island chains, in the Canadian Archipelago.   I sat contently in the front seat watching Captain Dad, one hand on the outboard, other firmly on the GPS (along with the full extent of his attention) take us further and further into the grey soup.   After 45minutes to an hour, almost all of which Dad had spent glued to the GPS, faithfully guiding 10-15 miles.  Rarely did his attention stray from the small, yellow electronic to quickly scan the horizon.  Attentive at the bow of the small skiff, I served as our trusty lookout watching for logs, land, or most importantly, fish.

After 60 minutes of the outboard motor droning along finally a glimpse of land began to emerge from the fog.  As we came closer a structure became distinguishable…and then…as Dad remained glued to his newfangled GPS guiding us to our destination we got a clear look… at the SAME FLOATING LODGEwe had departed from an hour earlier.  At that moment, after a second of confusion be both burst into laughter as it became painfully clear that Dad had zero idea how to work his new GPS and we had spent an hour making a big circle rather than honing in on the outer ring of islands that were our destination.

Jon's Life Supporting Dogs

Story One: 

Jon’s German short hair dogs provided critical life support to Jon and I during the pursuit of our manhood in those high school years. One summer Jon, Philo and I, and “The Dogs” embarked on a long weekend hiking trip into a remote part of the Olympics. We each carried heavy packs with lots of junk food etc. “The Dogs” were essential as life support on the trip and each was equipped with a pack together they carried a case of beer, vodka and Tang. No, I am not kidding. It was quite a hot day but we and “The Dogs” raced 10miles anyways up the mountain through the forest, then the tundra and finally reaching a glacier waterfall. It being damn hot in the late afternoon, we naturally decided to refresh ourselves a little and to “cool off” under the waterfall. I suppose we made quite a racket because a park ranger appeared out of nowhere and was not happy to meet our acquaintance. He took special umbrage at “The Dogs” probably because he obviously suspected but could not see the booze. He issued Jon a written citation for “Dogs On Trail” which he said carried a fine of $100 bucks. He agreed to suspend the citation IF AND ONLY IF, we were off the mountain TODAY! After much bitching and screaming we decided to go back down the mountain even though it was about 4 PM and we had at least 10 miles to cover before nightfall. We still had considerable beer etc. to haul down with us so we loaded up “The Dogs” with their packs, shouldered our own packs and went grumbling on our way. As darkness set in we were exhausted and “The Dogs” had already decided to shed their packs requiring us to tie their packs onto our already heavy packs. After losing the trail several times in the forest during the moonless night we arrived at our base camp delirious at our salvation at around midnight. After taking additional refreshment following our 20 mile ordeal, we fell asleep at the state campground which served as our base camp. In the morning we awoke to “The Dogs” tied to a tree moaning and groaning as well as several neighboring campers doing the same. We discovered that both “The Dogs” had endured 36 hours without food or water. We had all slept right through the entire next day. 

Story Two:

It was a beautiful summer day on Lake Roosevelt and Jon and his parents had invited me to accompany them on vacation. After a couple of days Jon and I had grown restless and managed to convince his parents to allow us to take the ski boat out on our own. Of course we brought “The Dogs” with us, Thank God. Exploring the lake, Jon and I decided to beach the boat on a nice sandy little island and have a little afternoon nap in the sun with “The Dogs”. We awoke about an hour later to find the boat was no longer beached but drifting away several hundred yards from the island. We and “The Dogs” immediately jumped into the water and began swimming after the boat. We made very little progress as the boat was drifting quite quickly and became exhausted I before Jon as he was a great swimmer. But Jon too was tired and called “The Dogs” to him and grabbed onto the collar of each and “The Dogs” managed to get Jon to the boat while I treaded water,…. and prayed. “Life Supporting Dogs….No,…..Life Saving Dogs.

-Allen Jorgensen


Boot Time

Jon, Philo Lund and I all skied together in high school. The ski bus would leave the high school Saturday mornings and head up to Hyak ( low budget, what can I say) All of us kids would load our skis underneath the bus but take our ski boots inside the bus with us. That way we could make sure to get them on in plenty of time to run out and start skiing as soon as possible when the bus arrived. Of course someone needed to keep track of the time and give a warning to everyone when was the time to start getting those ski boots on. Jon volunteered,…. although I cannot say that anyone asked him to. Initially Jon would holler, “ Boot Time” when we were approximately 10 minutes away from the ski lodge but that quickly got boring to Jon. He soon began to announce that it was “Boot time” at any and all rare moments when the decibels inside the bus dropped under 100. Many times we had not left the parking lot.

Philo and I loved to ski and we loved to ski with Jon. Duh! We of course each brought bota bags with us for “refreshment” during the long day. I mean ,….why would you stop for lunch. The trick was to get out of the house Saturday morning without your Mom inspecting and sampling your bota bag. One particular Saturday morning we arrived at the ski lodge and the temperature was 0. All of the kids on the bus, except Jon, I and Philo headed for the lodge to spend the day because it was just too cold to ski. Huh? The three of us skied ALL DAY, non-stop, no lift lines, up and down dozens of runs. The bus always left for home after a head count at 5 PM sharp! We arrived at 6:30PM to be greeted by a very surly bus driver and bus full of kids who had been sucking up diesel fumes for an hour and a half waiting for us. I loved skiing with Jon.

-Allen Jorgensen

The Summer of '69

It was the “Summer of 69”,….it really was. Jon and I were both looking for ,…….GIRLS! What else would we be looking for? Each of us had contemplated ,…..actually more like fantasized about a particular girl but we lacked the courage to just go up ask them for a date. YES,….that’s how guys had to do it back then. Jon’s 16th birthday was approaching. I had a brilliant idea, we would sneak up and surprise them just like we were hunting or fishing. “ Hey Jon,….just have a birthday party and invite both of them to the party. They will never suspect a thing.” This is how two cowards started on the road to becoming men. Jon invited about 10 or 12 people to the party including our two “prey”. I think his mother organized a great party with lots of food etc. etc. at their house on the bluff in Edmonds. I’m not really sure about that because as soon as our “love interests” arrived at the party, Jon and I immediately separated them from the herd, abandoned his party and the rest of the guests and took the girls down the steep steps to the beach. We did not return until the party was pretty much over. His mother was not amused. We tried our very best to entertain those girls,……and I’ll just stop the story there. Except I should add that 42 years later at our 40th high school reunion I met that girl again and this time I married her. Thanks Jon,…..I could not have done it without you. 

-Allen Jorgensen

A Proud Dad

Having known Jon for over 36 years, I have many memories of him, bigger than life as they say. One that I don't think many know of is about the morning when Erik was born. Kathy labored all night long and brought forth a beautiful baby boy. After she and Erik were settled, Jon and I went out for a much needed breakfast. I can still easily remember sitting across from him waiting for our food, looking at his face. On it was, as my Mom would say, "a shit eating grin from one ear to the other." Jon said over and over to me, "I think he knows I'm his Dad because he grabbed my finger. Did you see him grab it? He must know it's me don't you think?" I couldn't bear to remind him that is a natural newborn reflux that all baby's do. And even if I did, he wouldn't believe me anyways. He knew in the deepest part of his heart, his son knew that finger he was holding belonged to his Dad! Little did he know what a wonderful, successful adult that beautiful baby would someday become. I know Jon is looking out for each and every one of us. In thinking about him, I can't help but smile for having the pleasure of knowing him. He will be missed but not forgotten. -Edie Thompson

Kathy's 50th

I'm going to send a few of Kathy's 50th birthday celebration at the Ajax Cafe.  If you have been there you know the hat gig.  We left the Ajax and took her to the Whistlin Oyster Tavern in Quilcene, it was a surprise and the patrons were in on it. Had dropped of party favors in advance. They sang her "Happy Birthday" etc. and we had fun playing schuffle board.  Bernhofts, Mellons and Easlings. -Russ Mellon

Outhouse Race

I have attached three photos from the Conconully Outhouse Race taken in January of 2006. We built an outhouse, put it on skis and participated as the "Hooters", only team from Western WA. Jon, Kathy, Roger and Jeanette Easling, Linda and myself, our son's Andy and Justin and a few others participated. We ended up winning the Unlimited race, and should have won two more....long story. The attached PDF has Jon wearing his Viking helmet (top photo). The bottom photo with the bucket over Jon's head (closest to camera) is for the blind race. Middle photo is with Jon on right, Roger Easling on the left pushing the outhouse in the blind race (supposed to keep it on the entire race). Lots more photos of this event if needed.

-Russ Mellon

Another Fish Story

It was a September morning, Roger Easling and I met Jon and Erik at Olson's dock in Sekiu for some coho salmon fishing. I had asked Jon not to bring too much fishing tackle as I was well stocked and with 4 guys on board my 18.5 foot SeaRay boat, space were going to be a little tight. To no one's surprise, Jon showed up with a rather large fishing tackle box, three poles and a large cooler, just in case. We headed out. It was slow catching at Sekiu so we decided to head to an area off Tatoosh Island, west of Neah Bay. The fish were biting but the seas were a "little sloppy" . Soon after getting into the fish, Erik was turning three shades of green. Being a man of medical brilliance, Jon had Erik breathing into a paper bag, it was even a clean one! Well, this was not helping poor Erik, so we decided we had better reel up and take him into Neah Bay. If you are a fisher person you know how hard it is to leave when the fish are biting! 

As we passed Tatoosh Island on the way to Neah Bay, Jon and I spotted a nice gravel beach on the east (lee) side of the island. I looked at Jon, and he at me, and we both said "are you thinking what I'm thinking"? We looked at the tide chart and knew it was going to be an incoming tide in the afternoon, so if we could slowly approach the beach and not run aground, we could drop Erik off and pick him up in a few hours. That would, of course, save us alot of travel time and get us back fishing sooner. I told Jon he was going to have to hold the bow of the boat and keep the boat 90 degrees to the beach so a swell would not lift us and deposit us sideways onto the beach. Being such a terrific father he packed Erik some food, water and warm clothing, then proceeded to strip down to his underwear and jumped into the cold water to hold the boat into position. With Erik safe ashore, Jon got back into the boat, dried off and we proceeded to catch our limit of six nice coho. 

We returned at the designated time and found Erik all smiles. He had a ball exploring the Island and was feeling much better. Jon again did his strip routine and kept us off the rocks. Eric felt so good that he caught his two coho while trolling back to Sekiu. Isn't it amazing what sacrifices a father will make for his son!! 

Russ Mellon

Fishing With Jon

As a kid I had the pleasure of being invited to go fishing with Jon and Erik out to Seiku on multiple occasions.  We would go salmon fishing either for silvers or pinks a.k.a. humpys.  With his lone brown propane driving truck, he somehow managed to get the trailer and boat out there so we could stay in the "comfort" of the trailer and have the boat ready to go in the morning.  Making stuff happen like that without bothering kids with the details is one of the many miracles parents provide for their kids.  I remember one night standing outside the camper eating dinner fascinated with the Coleman lantern and how it would be lit.  Jon did not disappoint.  He made sure those mantles were well saturated before wasting a match trying to get it lit.  It blew up like the 4th of July causing us all to crack up laughing in the new found light we had at our table.

In the morning as we were eating oatmeal at a pace that young kids do at 0500, Jon would be running around getting everything ready to go for the day so all Erik and I had to do was jump in the boat and head out.  We were excited to go fishing but didn't have the same get up and go that Jon did during those God awful early hours.  He his catch phrase to motivate us was often, "Come on!  We're burning daylight!!!!"

Jon wanted to increase the odds of us continuing to fish with him as we got older so he did as much as possible for us kids in the boat.  We didn't wait to touch the nasty bait (ESPECIALLY power bait) or pull the hook from the fish's mouth, or touch it to put it in the cooler and Jon glading did it all.  So in between baiting our lines, reeling in our fish, netting our fish and driving the boat, Jon would grab a few bites of lunch that magically appeared (another childhood miracle that adults provide for children).  Now, I grew up with parents who were on the more bleach and hand sanitizer end of the germaphobic spectrum so I was always fascinated and a little horrified when I would watch Jon eat his food with scales covering his hands as if they sequins on a showgirls' outfit on the Vegas strip.  But he simply didn't have time and frankly didn't care to wash his hand in the middle of all the fun we were having.

I remember one particular morning the fog was pea soup and we found ourselves in the shipping lanes.  We could see the big container ship but we could hear the fog horn getting closer and closer and before we knew it we could hear the waves breaking on the ship's bow.  The compass just happened to be broken that day but Jon quickly fired up the engine and headed away from the ship.  Once we got a safe distance away, he asked Erik and I which way shore was.  We all answered at the same time with different directions.  We fished until the fog broke and we could see where land was then headed in for the day.  

I also remember heading out to the west end and Jon knowing seemingly everyone out there.  We would stop for dinner and a cafe and the owner would come out to greet him.  The people at the bait shop knew him by name and gave him the latest scoop on the fishing conditions.  On one trip we stopped over at a fellow pharmacist's house whose wife's face looked like it had been hit with a Mac truck.  It was as black and blue and as swollen as anything my 12 year old self had ever see.   When we got in the truck to head out the camper I had a ton of questions about her.  Jon patiently and without any judgement explained she had just had a face lift and educated me on how it was done.  I remember him demonstrating how they peel the forehead down by gripping his own face and squinting his eyes in an attempt to further my understanding.  It was hysterical.

I wish that I could have taken my kiddos out fishing with Jon.  We would have had a blast.  They would have loved the enthusiasm, knowledge and humor he brought to the water.

-Anna Swanberg

Jon Always Made Life Interesting

Jon and I went wood cutting @ Rogers house some years ago.  Jon need firewood and Roger said Jon could have the was on a bank...about 30 inches across the butt and pretty tall.  I used this as a teaching opportunity for Jon and explained to him how to cut the tree down...first cutting the "V" cut in back and then come to the other side and make a straight cut but NOT cut into the hinge as that stabilizes the tree and helps to guide it down where you want.  He was concerned where might fall he had a 100 ft choker attached to the tree.   We used a ladder to attach the cable high enough up so we had some pulling power with his truck.  He made all the desired cuts and wanted to pull it down...unfortunately he had not cut into the tree enough to move it.  I showed him where to cut so the tree would fall and in spite my reminders NOT to cut into the hinge...he did anyway...consequently pinching his saw.
So I used my saw to work away at the remainder of the tree, but no use to free his saw, but it had a better chance of coming down if we pulled on it.  So I had Jon tie a rope onto his saw...I would go up and pull the tree with his truck and he would pull on his saw when the tree started to move to get it out of the way so the tree would not fall on it.  I also reminded him to stand out of the way so no limbs would hit him...he followed all directions except the moving out of the way part.  I came over the hill to inspect the progress and saw Jon holding his head...I guess he did not stand back very far and got hit with a branch...just was rotten and not very big and the saw was saved!  Moral of the story...use your head when it comes to cutting down trees...not for catching branches:)

-Jim Thompson

Jon Always Had the Best of Intentions

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jon since I was born. Our families went camping, skiing, had holiday parties and he always seemed to bring something to those gatherings that would make them memorable, usually at his expense. I will always remember Jon for teaching me how to ski, encouraging me to go down more and more challenging runs (even if I didn't think I was ready), and to get me up early to make first tracks after a good snow. I did my first rope tow with him, my first double black diamond and skied the bowl at Mt. Bachelor with him. 

There are so many memories and stories to share it is hard to think of just one. From the time I started skiing in 6th grade through high school there weren't many times I went skiing without him and his signature butt plate. For those that skied with him you know exactly what I am referring to, but for those that didn't imagine a padded rectangle hanging from his waist like a a cape for when he sat on the lift so he wouldn't get wet. He always wore it and it would flap behind him as he gracefully went down the mountain, which made him easy to spot in a crowd. He always made skiing look so easy and was there to help me get better as I learned. He also made friends where ever we were and always struck up a conversation with any other person we saw on the lift or in line even if they didn't really feel like talking. His friendly charm was tough to resist.

On one particular day my brother, Jon and I were heading up to ski at Crystal, and as we walked to the shuttle Jon noticed that the headlights on a van had been left on. Being who he was, Jon optimistically said "I bet the door is open and I can turn them off." He walked over and sure enough it was and he turned off the lights. That of course wasn't enough, because Jon had a heart that wanted to do things for other people. So he went one step further he then said "it is going to snow, I better lift their windshield wipers up to make it easier when the get back." In doing this good deed, Jon of course pulled the entire driver's side wiper right off the windshield. My brother and I burst out laughing and to this day I can't remember what he did with the wiper, but at least that families battery wasn't dead when they returned. 

Jon, will be greatly missed and I will hold dearly to the memories I have with him. I am so grateful to have had him in my life.

-Megan Schomaker

Passion for Outdoor Adventures

I have Jon to thank for so much of who I am.  He gave me my first job as a teenager, taught me how to ski and showed me what an incredible part of the world we live in.  When I was 13, he paid for my ski gear, ski lessons and lift ticket up to Hurricane Ridge.  It was a bit of a cram session because he and Kathy planned to take me and their son Erik to Mt. Bachelor for a week long ski trip.  This was the start of my passion for the outdoors and different ways to soak it up. Kathy will tell you that she knew I was a lost cause when I bought a "No Fear" t-shirt.  She was right.  After that first trip, I was hooked.  I was lucky to take many more ski trips with Jon and his family.  I remember when they made the big leap up from a Subaru where we had to confine Jon's socks to the glove box at the end of the day, to a Suburban where open windows provided enough ventilation to prevent suffocation of the passengers.  He and Erik (two years younger than I) would often argue on the chairlift about what run to do next, when to take a break and how cold is really too cold to be out skiing?  I laughed and sometimes got mad at Erik for being a pansy ass and wanting to go inside when I wanted to take advantage of every second I had on the mountain.  Jon and I skied with backpacks (with Kit Kats as a staple) so we could eat on the chairlift and continue skiing.  Who knew that Erik would grow to be so such a skilled outdoorsman traveling the world to climb snowy mountains, canyon down cliffs and dive the world's waters?  Erik told me recently that he tries to work as little as possible and play as hard as possible, a philosophy I think he adopted from his dad:)

-Anna Swanberg