Service to Be June 15 For Gary Winnop, 60

Category: Obituaries
Created on Wednesday, 05 June 2019 15:21
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Gary Winnop

    Gary Winnop, former Sitkan, passed away June 1, 2019, after his year-long battle with mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by asbestos. His final days were spent at home in Sequim, Washington, in the care of his wife, Patti. He was 60.
    While Gary spent most of his life in Sitka, he started his life March 22, 1959, in Moses Lake, Washington. When he was just 6 months old his family moved to Sitka. They arrived in a PBY floatplane, landing at the old Sitka turn-around at Katlian Street and Halibut Point Road.
    Gary’s early life was spent playing in the woods with his brother Scott and enjoying the freedoms of small community island life. He grew into a strong athlete, competing in Little League as a young boy and wrestling as a high schooler, where he took fourth place in state competition. He also took part in track, and was a member of the pep band for all four years.
    However, his prowess truly shone in logging competitions. He competed for eight years in the All Alaska Logging Championships, where he excelled in the speed climbing and tree topping events. He routinely took home first-place trophies and earned many awards. He was even invited to the nation’s bicentennial exhibition in Washington, D.C., where he and a group of fellow expert loggers represented Alaska by demonstrating their climbing and logging skills in front of the Washington Monument. Gary is immortalized in print as a photo of him made it on the front page of the Washington Times newspaper hanging the Alaska Flag at the top of a spar pole. That photo is kept in the records of the Smithsonian museum as a piece of American history.
     After graduating from Sitka High School in 1977, he immediately went to work at Alaska Lumber and Pulp, where he stayed  for five years. At age 23, he was accepted into the International Union of Operating Engineers and worked for local contractors for 10 years before he and his wife opened  Winnop’s Excavation Service. Through their hard work and complementing skills, the business was extremely successful.
    In 2001 he moved his family to Sequim, Washington, and continued his excavation contracting. He continued to take on new jobs up until his last year.
    Gary was a kind, loving, and strong husband, father, and grandfather. He married Patti Pond, his high school sweetheart, in 1986, and has a daughter, Kori, and a son, Wayde.  He has two grandsons, Ryan, 4,  and Ari, three month.
    Gary discovered a passion for flying very early in his life. He became a pilot at 20 years of age and immediately purchased a floatplane.  Over the years, he contracted his services to fish companies, flying supplies to fishing boats and spotting herring during the sac roe fisheries. His expertise was also put to good use in service to others as an active member of the Civil Air Patrol, where he flew the local Beaver floatplane.
    Flying perfectly complemented his love for adventure and the great outdoors. With the entirety of the Southeast Alaskan wilderness as his playground, he spent thousands of hours camping, hunting, and fishing in the numerous remote lakes and forest service cabins. He took his family on many incredible and often nerve-wracking adventures while exploring the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world. After moving down to Washington State, Gary continued his passion in the waters off the Washington coast, and the forests of the Olympic Peninsula.             While he gained immense satisfaction from pulling in his quota of salmon or successfully bagging a handsome buck, he also just loved being able to spend time in the natural world.
    Later in his life, Gary put his faith in Christ, and realized a passion for mission work and helping those in need. His knowledge of and aptitude for construction allowed him to help spread God’s kingdom into communities that desperately needed it. He helped build a church in the Philippines, homes in Mexico, and took two trips to Haiti to work on both a church roof and an orphanage. These missions had a profound impact on Gary, and he was so grateful for the opportunity to give himself as a helping hand to those who needed one.
    Gary is remembered by many friends and family members including: his wife Patti of 33 years; his daughter Kori Postlewaite and husband Greg of San Diego; son Wayde Winnop and his partner Jami Stutz of Sequim; grandchildren Ryan and Ari; brother Scott Winnop of Oceanview, Hawaii; sisters-in-law Ann, Susie, and Lori; nephews Trevor, Chad, and Jeremiah; and niece Maileen.
    Gary goes to join his deceased father, Bill Winnop, and very recently deceased mother, Donna Winnop.
    He was a member of Kingsway Four Square Church in Sequim and a former member of Sitka Christian Center.
    A celebration of his life will be held at Kingsway Four Square Church in Sequim, Washington, 1023 Kitchen-Dick Road at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 15. His service will be live-streamed at www.thekingsway.net; click on the YouTube icon at the bottom of the page.