Jay Koetje, long-time resident of Fir Island, quietly passed away at home on July 29, 2014 after a hard fought battle with cancer. He was 60 years old.

Jay was the second of three sons born to Paul and the late Rita Koetje. He was educated in Mount Vernon schools, graduating from Mount Vernon High School with the class of 1971. Following high school, Jay attended Yakima Community College for two years before starting his commercial fishing business. After a long and very successful career, Jay retired from fishing in 1999.

In 1995, Jay met Cindy Hammond who would become his wife. Over the years they built two incredible homes together, travelled extensively, entertained largely and loved each other deeply. Cindy cared for Jay throughout his illness and was by his side always.

Jay was an avid sport fisherman, duck hunter and decoy collector. He loved hunting on their eastern Washington property and enjoyed sharing the hunt with family and friends. As good as the hunt was, the story telling that followed was phenomenal. Jay also made his mark recently when he was honored as "Volunteer of the Year" by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for his financial support of the Skagit Wildlife Area Island unit. In his acceptance speech Jay simply said "I decided I would try to help the ducks out a little bit". Those fortunate enough to have known Jay will miss his quick wit, sly grin and contagious laugh.

Jay was preceded in death by his mother Rita. He is survived by his devoted wife Cindy, at the family home; father Paul (Florence) of Mount Vernon, WA; brothers Jeff (Michelle) of Mount Vernon, WA and Rick of Mount Vernon, WA; step-daughter Nora (Victor) Hernandez and their children Vanessa and Nicholas of Burlington, WA, as well as a large extended family. Additionally surviving Jay are his beloved dog Coo and dear friends Steve and Linda Rasor of Royal City, WA.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, August 8, 2014 beginning at 1:00 pm at Salem Lutheran Church in Mount Vernon, WA with a reception to follow at Maplehurst Farm in Mount Vernon, WA.

Please share your thoughts of Jay and sign the online guest register at www.hawthornefh.com.

Arrangements are under the care of Hawthorne Funeral Home, Mount Vernon.

Funeral Home

Hawthorne Funeral Home and Memorial Park
1825 E. College Way  Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company from Aug. 3 to Aug. 6, 2014