Gary Eugene Shurtleff

Gary Shurtleff

Gary died peacefully at home July 16th, 2012. He was born March 29, 1937 to George and Bette Shurtleff.

Most of his early years were spent in Payette, Idaho where he spent time with his grandparents, cousins Pat and Barb, and brothers George, Geoff, and Raymond. During his childhood he was an avid baseball player and fan, animal lover (raising pigeons and his collie, Laddie), a voracious reader and music aficionado.

Gary attended the College of Idaho in Caldwell where he started a music collection that would eventually number in the thousands and ran a jazz radio show. It was there that he met Marlea Roehr, whom he married after he graduated with a degree in Physics in 1961.

Gary continued to play baseball (semi-pro) and eventually transitioned into coaching. He coached Legion baseball in both Burien and Renton. In 1972 his team in Burien took 2nd place in the state.

Gary was hired as one of the early scientific computer programmers for The Boeing Company where he worked for 38 years. Gary retired in 2003, to enjoy reading his extensive library of books on history, biography, philosophy and religion; to listen to his extensive music collection; to play with his model trains; to putter in his garden, and always, to spend time with friends and family, sharing stories. He was widely considered as the ultimate authority on a number of topics and encouraged all who knew him to love the things he loved.

Gary is survived by his wife, Marley, his daughters Jennie (Peter) Struijk, Gena Shurtleff (Richard Wurdack), brothers Geoff Shurtleff, George (Linda) Shurtleff, cousins Pat Horyna, Barb (Hugh) Diener and many well-loved nieces and nephews, extended family, and friends.

Remembrances can be made to The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (, The Oregon-California Trails Association (, or Woodland Park Zoo (


4 Responses to “Gary Eugene Shurtleff”

  • Danny Davis says:

    I Grew up with Gary, George, Goerge Gilmore and Mike Coblentz. Gary was always the teacher…sports, oh yeah!! He was a reat teacher even when he was in high school! Thanks to him , his family, and the Brogan girls…I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything.
    R.I.P Gary and, thanks!

    ~Danny D.(son of V.J Davis)

  • Gena says:

    (This is a short excerpt from the eulogy I wrote and shared with my beloved Dad before he died.)

    Thinking back on my happy childhood memories of my Dad, there are too many to count or recount here. My childhood is brimming with lovely days and afternoons spent with my Dad. For example, when Jenny and I took drama classes on Saturdays at Poncho, which was next to the zoo. Dad would go to the zoo with each of us while the other one was in class. So he spent several hours at the zoo with us each Saturday for weeks on end and never complained. In fact, he seemed to really enjoy it. I really loved spending time with my Dad and learning about the animals and going to every single exhibit. He taught me an appreciation for all animals – even the spiders or wasps that he would catch and release instead of squashing.

    Dad never expected us to act like little ladies and he taught us to standing up for ourselves. He had a great sense of justice and sticking up for those you love. I always knew my Dad had my back. And I knew that whatever I’d done he’d love me and probably take my side (even if my side was a bit dubious). Like when he took me for ice cream after I gave the neighborhood bully a bloody nose.

    I had a Dad so above and beyond what the average (even a bit beyond the great). I suppose I shouldn’t complain. I should simply be happy for the many years I had with Dad. Happy for the many fond memories and the launch into life that has helped me to be successful. But I can’t be. I want more. And I have trouble imagining how I’m going to go on without my Dad there cheering me on. But I guess I’m going to have to.

    My Dad may not have been perfect but, as he might have said, he was “close enough for jazz.”

  • Marley says:

    September 22nd, 2012, Gary’s ashes were scattered in the Payette River at Payette, Idaho, close to where he grew up, and where he spent many happy years with close friends and family, including his “best friend,” Laddie the dog. His brother George and cousin Pat recalled ballgames and lots of family stories from those years. His brother Geoff remarked that Gary’s ashes (and a bit of his mom’s, too) would travel through the part of the world he loved best, the Northwest: from Payette to the Snake River, through Hell’s Canyon, to join the Columbia and flow on out to the ocean.

  • Marley says:

    A final celebration of life for Gary was held October 13, 2012, in downtown Seattle, Washington. What follows is the program for the event.

    Celebration of Life for Gary Shurtleff

    The Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band
    The band will be playing two 30-minute sets of Dixieland music. Between sets, feel free to share memories or makes toasts to Gary.

    Sign our Memory Books
    Please take a moment to sign our memory book and (if you like) share memories you have of Gary. It is located next to the entrance by the photo of Gary.

    Gary’s Life in Pictures
    Enjoy looking over our memory board as it has many pictures from Gary’s life over the years. For prints of any of the pictures, let Gena know.

    Gary’s Book of Quotes
    Gary kept a small journal with quotes he enjoyed for several years. If you would like a copy, let Gena know.

    Wildflower Seed Packets
    As Gary loved birds and wildflowers, we’ve provided wildflower seed packets for anybody who would like to scatter them in his memory.

    Please enjoy the food and drinks (wine and beer are at the bar inside) and help us remember Gary.

    Love, Marley, Jennie, and Gena

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