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1811 NE 16th Ave #A
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-675-3447
Fax: 360-682-2359
Gary Wallin

Gary L Wallin

Wednesday, November 24th, 1948 - Tuesday, March 21st, 2017
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Our community has lost a wonderful, caring man. Gary Wallin died suddenly in Seattle, WA on March 21, 2017. He was 68 years of age.

Gary was born in Aberdeen, WA to Berta Gill Wallin and Donald V. Wallin. Gary often recalled an early childhood that was often hard: his parents working long hours at lumber mill jobs, seemingly endless rain, regular flooding, and using row boats to get to his home. There was also much love: from his parents, from his younger brothers Bob and Ron. Gary also had a special relationship with his Grandpa Ed, who he visited in Portland as often as possible.

Gary and his family moved to Oak Harbor when he was eight years old. Other than a year of mortuary school in San Francisco as a young man, Oak Harbor would remain his home for his entire life.

Gary met Martha Suess in junior high and they remained special friends all through high school. Friendship bloomed into love and on February 14, 1976 they were married at St. Augustine Catholic Church. Gary and Martha just celebrated 41 years of marriage. Their family grew to two wonderful sons, Jason and Matthew. Gary and Martha were life partners and went everywhere together, sharing their love for each other with everyone they met.

He graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1967; his 50th reunion would have been this summer. Gary received two AA degrees from Skagit Valley College and is a graduate of the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science where he received the prestigious Mu Sigma Alpha award for academic excellence.

Gary has worn many, many hats in Oak Harbor. His work life began when he was just 14. At an open house at the newly established Bartleson Funeral Home, Gary was offered a job as groundskeeper, car washer, general maintenance man, and ambulance attendant. This job transitioned to an internship as a funeral director/embalmer, and Gary realized his calling. After graduating from mortuary school in 1971, Gary returned to Oak Harbor, passed his State board exams, and continued working for Bartleson as a licensed funeral director and embalmer. Gary had a lifelong entrepreneurial bent, too. In 1976, just after he and Martha married, Gary founded Wallin Ambulance Service, with his brother Ron, establishing stations on both north and south Whidbey. In the early 1980s, the ambulance service transitioned to Whidbey General Hospital, where Gary became a Department Head. He played a prominent role in creating Washington State’s First Responder program, which was signed into law in the mid-80’s. Subsequently, he trained scores of Emergency Medical Technicians and First Responders. While still working at the hospital, Gary began working part time for Burley Funeral Chapel in Oak Harbor and then, in 1990, joined the business as a funeral director and embalmer. Around the same time, he and Martha started their second small business, Life Safety Training Associates, where they taught public and industrial first aid and CPR until 2000.

After Burley’s was sold, Gary wanted to bring back a family-owned funeral service to Oak Harbor. In 2010, he and Martha realized a life-long dream and opened Wallin Funeral Home & Cremation, LLC and Evergreen Pet Cremation, LLC.

Gary adored Oak Harbor, and served his community with love, compassion, and enthusiasm. In addition to his work related activities he served as a Board Member for the Oak Harbor School District for 15 years, as a volunteer fire fighter with the Oak Harbor Fire Department for a decade, as an active member for more than 20 years and two-time president for the Kiwanis Club of Oak Harbor, as treasurer of the Oak Harbor Police Explorers, as President and Board Member of the Oak Harbor Help House, as a volunteer in the Oak Harbor Schools, as a member of the Oak Harbor Elks lodge, as a member of the Navy League, and recently as elected chairman of the Oak Harbor Main Street Association.

Gary was a man of strong faith and served as a sacristan, Eucharistic Minister, reader, and committee member at St. Augustine Catholic Church.

Gary is survived by his wife Martha, his son Jason (and Shannon) Wallin of Eugene, OR, son Matthew (and Taylor) Wallin of Los Angeles, CA, as well as brothers Bob (and Debbie) Wallin and Ron (and Gayle) Wallin, all of Oak Harbor. Also surviving are granddaughters Adelaide and Linnea, mother-in-law Peggie Suess of Oak Harbor, sister-in-law Julie (and Ralph) Houser of Vancouver, WA, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Don and Berta.

A visitation will be held on Sunday, March 26 from 1-5 pm at Wallin Funeral Home with a Celebration of Life beginning at 3 pm with Chaplain David Lura officiating. A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, March 27 at 10 am, at St. Augustine Catholic Church with Father Paul Pluth, JCL as celebrant. A reception will follow in the parish hall.

The family suggests memorials to the Oak Harbor Education Foundation, PO Box 1801, Oak Harbor, WA 98277.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, March 26th, 2017 | 1:00pm - 5:00pm
    Sunday, March 26th, 2017 1:00pm - 5:00pm
    Wallin Funeral Home & Cremation, LLC
    1811 NE 16th Ave
    OAK HARBOR, WA 98277
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Celebration of Life Services to commence at 3:00 pm
  • Service

    Monday, March 27th, 2017 | 10:00am
    Monday, March 27th, 2017 10:00am
    St Augustine Catholic Church
    185 N Oak Harbor St
    OAK HARBOR, WA 98277
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. Paul Pluth, J.C.L.
  • Interment

    Maple Leaf Cemetery
    1961 NE 16th Ave
    OAK HARBOR, WA 98277
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Reception

    St Augustine Catholic Church
    185 N Oak Harbor St
    OAK HARBOR, WA 98277
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Reception immediately following Funeral Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church.


  • Elks Lodge
  • EMT
  • Kiwanis International
  • Navy League of United States
  • Oak Harbor School District
  • Oak Harbor Fire Department


Donations are being accepted for: OAK HARBOR EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION.


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Private Condolence
Debra Lang sent flowers to the family of Gary L Wallin.
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Posted at 01:04pm
Two years today, my love. Miss you more than ever.


Posted at 01:39pm
Celebrated what would have been your 70th birthday on November 24. Missing you every day, my love.

Kathy Jones

Posted at 02:57pm
Martha the poem is beautiful. Gary mattered to you and the family and to all of us lucky enough to call him friend. He was funny and logical and so well dressed. i still can not think of him without also thinking of you you. You were fabulous partners in love life and businesses. an inspiration to all of us. i will light a candle at church in Gary's memory tomorrow. Prayers and hugs to you on this first anniversary.

Martha Wallin

Posted at 07:16pm
As the first year anniversary approaches you are always in my heart. I heard a poem today that I hope others will read. My dearest Gary, you did chose a life that matters. I love you.

“What Will Matter?”
Michael Josephson

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten
will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed to important will fade away.

It won’t matter where you came from
or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So, what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought but what you built,
not what you got but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success
but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned,
but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice
that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence,
but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew,
but how many will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.

What will matter is not your memories
but the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered,
by whom and what for.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

Jim Wellman

Posted at 05:35pm
Martha I'm shocked. I just saw this.My prayers are with you and the family. He was such a great man.

Photos & Videos

Photo Album

Wine tasting in California
Gary loved this hat.