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Alfred S. Gwynn passed away peacefully after an illness April 19, 2013, at 96 years old.
He was born on May 1, 1916, in an amusement park on Lake Whatcom owned and operated by his parents, Alfred Emmerson Gwynn and Mary Smedes.
Al graduated in 1934 from Bellingham High School and was a member of the tennis team. He attended Washington State University and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. As a freshman, Al joined the varsity tennis team.
During summers, he worked for his uncle Bill Gwynn's Family Shoe Store in Port Angeles.
In 1937, he left college to marry his high school sweetheart, Kathleen Murray. At 21 years old, they opened their "first" shoe store in Everett. Al and Kathleen had been married 71 years when she passed away in 2009.
Al purchased his second shoe store from "Uncle Bill" in 1947, the Family Shoe Store of Port Angeles. Two more stores were purchased, one in Port Townsend and one in Port Orchard.
At 36 years old, the couple sold the stores and moved to Edmonds, and Al became a shoe salesman in Seattle, Washington. The Family Shoe Store sold to Al's niece, Shirley, and Shirley's husband, Bill Thompson. It is currently owned by their son, Kevin Thompson, fourth generation to operate the Family Shoe Store.
One of Al's accomplishments in the shoe industry was to design an "open toed" pump for women.
After returning to Port Angeles, Al ran for the state Legislature as a GOP candidate in the late 1950s. His platform was to "save the fish" and bring back tourism — a crucial issue even today.
Al, as a Rotarian, was involved with many of the downtown business people. He was also deacon at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.
Early in the 1970s, Al helped organize Jefferson National Bank in Port Townsend and later became a director of the bank.
His love of the outdoors took him and Kay on many hunting and fishing trips. The family also commercially fished in Neah Bay in the 1960s. As a retiree, he could enjoy these activities with his son, Murray, and they fished in Canada and Alaska, and hunted in Eastern Washington.
During Murray's high school and college years, Al shared his passion for golf and traveled with him to state amateur tournaments.
As a Peninsula Golf Club member for more than 40 years, he enjoyed a hole-in-one playing with his son and also winning low net honors in a May Shotgun.
Al and Kay enjoyed "snowbird" traveling in their trailer to Needles, California, for more than 30 years to the same Colorado River park and enjoyed friends, dogs and golf there.
His passion for baseball kept him tuned in to the Seattle Mariners on TV, and he enjoyed following college basketball. He was an avid sports fan, along with a stock market student and investor.
His daily routine was to walk his dog, do his "chores," check the market and enjoy the sports.
Al is survived by his son, Murray (Helen) of Anthem, Arizona, and Port Angeles; grandchildren Laurie (Dave) Jolosky, Lisa (Brett) Wallden, Mike (Rachelle) Gwynn and Katherine Gwynn; and great-grandchildren Nathaniel and Gabriel Jolosky, and Samuel Gwynn.
Al was devoted to his family and was always a generous, loving man. He will be missed by all.
He loved his dogs and always had one or more. He was never without his dog C'est Si, his constant companion, currently being cared for by Lisa and Brett.
Memorial contributions should be made to salmon and steelhead enhancement programs or dog-rescue organizations.
A celebration of life will be held at Harper-Ridgeview Funeral Chapel, 105 West Fourth Street, Port Angeles, on Saturday, July 27, 2013, at 11:30 a.m.
Harper Ridgeview Funeral Chapel
105 W 4th St PO Box 340
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on July 21, 2013