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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 U.S. 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 renowned 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 were 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 30 years. Richard and department head Jim Scarlett 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's 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 visit grandchildren.
They also made frequent trips to the state basketball tournament in Tacoma, Washington, supporting the Lynden Lions and Forks Spartans.
Richard also enjoyed working on the daily crossword with Marge and watching the Seattle Mariners and golf.
Richard is survived by his devoted wife of 68 years, Margaret; and son Rick (Mary) Wahlgren of Whidbey Island. He also leaves behind nine grandchildren and many great-grandchildren who are proud to call him "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 Community Hospital and Hospice, Pastor Art Morlin, the Reverend Warren Johnson, Danny Wahlgren and Judy McClanahan.
A memorial service will be held at Forks Congregational Church on Saturday, September 27, 2014, at 1 p.m. with the Reverend Warren Johnson officiating.
Donations may be made to Forks Congregational Church at 280 South Spartan Avenue, Forks, WA 98331.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Aug. 31, 2014