Richard Eugene Garrison (1918 - 2016)

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  • "I just found out about Dicks Passing My Prayers are with..."
    - Wilhelmina Kelly
  • "Dick was an icon of Juneau. He and my father (Albert..."
  • "Beloveds, what a good long life Richard enjoyed with family..."
  • "My sincere sympathy to your family. May the God of all..."
  • "Just heard...I valued his friendship and he will be missed."
    - Robert Becker
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The sons of Richard Eugene "Dick" "Cool Man" Garrison announce the passing of their father, a family treasure and local legend. At age 97, he died peacefully of natural causes on July 12, 2016 at the Juneau Pioneers' Home.
Dick was born as Stanley Zyglovich on November 13, 1918 in Bayne, a small coal-mining town southeast of Seattle. Near present-day Black Diamond, WA, Bayne has vanished. His parents were Ignatz and Mary Wasnitzka Zyglovich, immigrants from Austria. After coal miner Ignatz died, mother Mary was impoverished and unable to raise her four boys. Two went off to seek adventures, two were adopted. Joe Zyglovich, Burley Lawrence and Ed Mills all stayed in Washington and have died. Little Stanley was adopted by a family in Seattle and renamed Richard Eugene Garrison. After the adoptive father died, mother Pearl lived long and visited Juneau frequently.
Dick was naturally curious and creative, and found there was nothing he could not fix. As WWII began, he was installing and repairing instruments on Boeing bombers. Drafted into the Army, he repaired instruments and an entire Navy fleet's wristwatches in the Aleutians, then came to Juneau at war's end. For many years this region depended on Garrison Radio Service. Dick also owned Alaska Music Supply and many derelict properties that came into demand as tourism blossomed.
In addition to being an electronic wizard, Dick was a renowned trombone player whose band played at many dances. He marched in dozens of Fourth of July parades through Juneau and Douglas. In recent years he continued to parade and play from a wheelchair. He was the Grand Marshal of the 2014 parades. He was also known for his flamboyant dress and ballroom dancing on many cruise ships with his wife Peggie.
An avid fisherman, Dick was enormously proud of having fished in every Golden North Salmon Derby since that event began in 1947. When he and Rudy Pusich were the only two still alive to share that distinction, they loved to ask each other about their health. After Rudy died, Dick fished until last year when he chose not to compete.
His wives' names were amazingly similar; Margaret Gene Hawkins, the mother of four sons, was "Peggy". Second wife Margaret Mary Whyte, a nurse from Ireland, was "Peggie". Both preceded in death, as did son Chris. Son Ricky, retired from Foodland, now lives in Albany, OR. Jeff, a retired finish carpenter, lives in Juneau and for long has driven Dick every noon to lunch at the Valley Restaurant. Greg and his wife Jan tended to Dick's needs for four wonderful years prior to him entering the Pioneers' Home which he called "God's Waiting Room". Greg lives both in Hoonah and in the modern house Dick built on Highland Drive when he had to bulldoze part of that street up Mt. Juneau's flank.
Dick is survived by six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He asked to be cremated "in the nude so nothing mixes with my ashes", which will be buried next to Peggie in Evergreen Cemetery. The sons give great thanks to the Pioneers' Home staff for excellent loving care of both Peggie and then Dick. Special thanks to Hayden Garrison for tending to the families personal affairs. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Salmon Derby by mailing to Territorial Sportsmen; PO Box 32712; Juneau, AK 99803, marked for the Dick Garrison memorial. Because Dick asked for no funeral service, the family will host a "Remembrance Happy Hour" at the Juneau Yacht Club on Sunday, July 31, 4 to 7 PM.
Published in The Juneau Empire from July 19 to Aug. 18, 2016