Richard Edward Wahlgren, 93, died peacefully at home in Forks on Sunday evening August 24, 2014.He was born on May 10, 1921 to Forks area pioneers Carl and Blanche Wahlgren.
His family began a logging company, drilled for oil, and ran a horse drawn freight wagon to Clallam Bay and Lake Crescent.
As a boy, Richard enjoyed fishing and hunting. He graduated with honors from Forks High School and was an athletic standout in football and basketball.
In 1942, he joined the US Army and served in World War II. He first served in Alaska on Kodiak Island following the Japanese invasion. Then in 1944, he was sent to Europe to join the “Big Red One”, the renown U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division. Richard experienced fierce combat in Ardennes in the famous Battle of the Bulge, a major German offensive. He was awarded medals for his courageous service.
After the war, he returned to his beloved Olympic Peninsula.
One memorable evening at Lake Crescent, he met the love of his life, Margaret “Marge” Fuller. They were married April 20, 1946. Using the GI Bill, Richard attended college at Western Washington University and the University of Washington.
During this time, the young couple was blessed when daughter Cheryl was born in 1947, and in 1949, a son Richard “Rick” was welcomed to the family.
Returning to Forks, Richard began his career as a surveying engineer with Rayonier lasting thirty years. Richard and department head Jim Scarlet, located many of Rayonier’s primary logging roads, used today including the Goodman Mainline and roads in the Calawah, Dickey, Hoh, and Ozette areas.
Richard was a dedicated husband and father. In the early 1960s, Richard and Marge began a major project building their dream home by themselves in Mansfield addition. After retiring from Rayonier, Richard was delighted to fish full time for salmon and steelhead with best friend and brother, Lloyd.
Richard and Marge took memorable trips to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks and Disneyland. By far, their favorite travels were to the state basketball tournament in Tacoma supporting the Lynden Lions and forks Spartans. Richard also enjoyed working on the daily crossword puzzle with Marge, and watching the Mariners and golf.
Richard is survived by his devoted wife of 68 years, Margaret; son, rick (Mary) Wahlgren, of Whidbey Island. He also leaves behind nine grandchildren and many great grandchildren who are proud to call hime “Pop.”
He was preceded in death by his loving daughter, Cheryl Wendell; his sister Dorothy Cline; and brother Lloyd Wahlgren.
Always a surveyor, Richard’s life compass led him to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
The family would like to thank Dr. Rick Dickson, the caring staff at Forks hospital and Hospice, Pastor Art Morlin, Rev. Warren Johnson, Danny Wahlgren and Judy McClanahan.
A memorial service will be held at Forks Congregational Church on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 at 1 p.m. with Rev. Warren Johnson officiating. Donations may be made to the Forks Congregational Church at 280 S. Spartan Ave., Forks, WA 98331.