Edwin Robert Willgress
Edwin Robert Willgress, Sr. passed away peacefully at home on June 4, 2006, surrounded by his devoted family. A lifelong resident of Seattle, he was born on June 19, 1919, to Edwin J. Willgress and Rhena Sutherland Willgress. During his youth, he was active in the Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Queen Anne High School, and afterward attended the University of Washington. Ed was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 1941. He continued his studies as a graduate student in iron and steel, metallography. He was a member of Tau Phi Delta Fraternity.
During World War II, Ed was employed by Cunningham Steel Foundry as Chief Metallurgist before being commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy. He was deployed to Hawaiian in 1944, providing naval support while attached to Amphibious Forces, US Pacific Fleet.
After the war, Ed joined his father in the family business, Cascade Machinery and Electric. After his father's death, he became president of the company, a position he held until his retirement. Ed also continued his naval career in the Sand Point Naval Reserve Unit. He assumed command of the Ship Activation, Maintenance and Repair Division, retiring in 1979 with the rank of Captain.
In his early adult life, Ed was a member of the Washington Duck Hunters Club in the Nisqually Flats, a sport he enjoyed with his father, other family members and friends. He had a passion for fishing all of his life, first on the Dungeness River and later throughout the Northwest and Canada. Ed and his family spent many relaxing hours together at his home on Whidbey Island. He was also an avid gardener. He and his wife, Leila, enjoyed traveling and spending time with family and friends at their winter home in Mesa, Arizona.
Besides his loving wife Leila, Ed is survived by three children: Edwin, Jr. (Debbie), Steven (Sarah), and Christine Willgress; his sister, Pat Willgress Spring; six stepchildren; five grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and two step-great-grandchildren.
A memorial was held on Monday, June 12 at 1 p.m. at Evergreen-Washelli Funeral Home, 11111 Aurora Ave North in Seattle, with a Celebration of Life immediately following at the Seattle Golf Club, 210 NW 145th Street.
In lieu of flowers, memorials would be gratefully accepted by Providence Hospice of Seattle, 425 Pontius Ave North Seattle, Washington 98109 or Trinity Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 97, Freeland, Washington 98249.