Edward Louis Echtle Sr passed away peacefully on December 31, 2019 at his home, surrounded by four generations of loving family.
Ed was born on August 18, 1936 to Lura and George Echtle at their farmhouse on Yelm Prairie, the sixth of seven brothers and sisters. Baptized at St Margaret Mary’s in McKenna, Ed was a lifelong Catholic and cherished his faith and church community.
Ed grew up working on his parents’ farm, helping with gardening, haying and tending to their small herd of dairy cows. He spent his free time fishing on the Nisqually River with his older brothers and hunting with his father in the Bald Hills. He remembered fondly learning to swim in the small Yelm Irrigation Project canal that ran across their front yard and playing basketball with his brothers.
Ed graduated from Yelm High School in 1957. He spent his years at Yelm High earning letters in football, basketball, drama and choir and served as student body president in his senior year. After graduation, Ed joined the US Army, doing a two-year tour as part of a Corporal Missile unit stationed in Kitzingen, West Germany. There he became lifelong friends with Hank Engelke and Virgil Rosenquist.
After discharge, Ed worked a series of jobs including road construction, service station attendant and cheese manufacturing. He met Louise Dornblaser at a dance at the Evergreen Ballroom near Lacey and, after a courtship, they married on July 1, 1961. They purchased their first home in Olympia in 1965 and relocated to Tenino in 1972.
In 1965 Ed and Louise welcomed their first child, Edward Jr. In 1967 their son James was born. Ed was a devoted family man and found joy spending family vacations camping in their trailer along rivers and lakes throughout Western Washington, particularly on the Tilton River. He greatly enjoyed group outings that included extended family, especially Louise’s mother and stepfather, Nova and Jim Bishop. Ed took pride in passing along his fishing skills and love of the outdoors to his sons and relished time spent with family.
Ed began his 31-year career with United Parcel Service in 1961 as one of the first drivers in the Olympia area. Ed’s route included everything west of town to the coast, covering over 150 miles a day. After 16 years as a driver, he took a promotion and moved into management where he worked as a Supervisor, a Center Manager and as a Customer Service Representative. Ed’s gift for making friends and his natural desire to help others made this work a great fit.
Ed retired from UPS in 1991 and immediately immersed himself in service of the Tenino community. Ed was an ardent high-school football booster, devoting innumerable evenings helping run the chains on the sidelines. He also drove school bus, served on city council, planning commission and was administrator for St Peter Catholic Church in Tenino. He was active in Tenino Lions, helping serve bratwurst at Oregon Trail Days, staffing Christmas tree sales in December, readying the cemetery for Memorial Day and driving his LeBaron convertible in parades with local dignitaries as passengers.
Ed and Louise were proud to welcome their first grandchild, Amanda in 1987. In 1995 they welcomed their grandson Alex, Daniel in 1997, Michael in 2002 and Lillian in 2012. Their first great-grandchild, Layla, arrived in 2018. Ed was a proud grandpa and always treasured his time with his grandchildren. He enjoyed watching his grandchildren participate in athletics. He regularly attended their competitions where he supported and encouraged them.
Ed is survived by Louise, his wife of 58 years, his brother James, his sons Edward (Robin) and Jim (Jennifer), his grandchildren, great grandchild, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Lura and George, sisters Juanita, Freda, Marian and Margaret, and brother George.
A Catholic Mass will take place at St Peter Catholic Mission in Tenino Washington on Thursday, January 9 at 11:00 am. Graveside service will follow, with a reception at the church afterward.
Donations in memory of Ed may be made to:
Catholic Community Services: ccsww.org
SightFirst via Tenino Lions Club: e-clubhouse.org/sites/tenino_wa/
To send flowers to Edward's family, please visit our floral section.