Harlan Jay Pigsley
Seattle, WA - Born November 26, 1932 in Wagner, South Dakota to Walt and Carrie Pigsley, Harlan Jay Pigsley died in Seattle, WA April 15, 2019. He was 86.
A proud member of the Yankton Sioux tribe, Harlan, along with his siblings, attended Pierre Indian Boarding School, followed by Pierre High School where he excelled in track, basketball and baseball before graduating in 1952.
After high school, it was off to the Navy with stops in San Diego, Rhode Island and the USS Gilmore in Key West, FL. In 1959, Harlan was sent to Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois where he met Jeanie Thwaite, a Navy WAVE in training from Portland, OR. They married on August 4, 1960 before landing at Agana Naval Base in Guam. While there, son Thomas was born in 1961, followed 15 months later by Douglas (Gar) in 1962. After serving on the USS Dixie in 1963 and in 1964, it was off to Vincennes, IN where Jay worked as a recruiter. While there, son number three arrived, Andrew, in 1966. The last stop in Harlan's naval career was a two-year stint in Rota, Spain serving on the submarine tender USS Holland. 20 years serving in the Navy was complete.
After his service, the family settled in Keizer, OR where Harlan started another 20-year career at Chemawa Indian School. He worked in the maintenance division alongside his brother Wayland and later brother Donald. After retiring in 1991, Harlan spent his days enjoying long walks, woodworking and early morning coffee with friends at the local McDonalds.
Harlan was very proud of his Native American heritage. He knew the history of his family and was happy to share it. His great grandfather was Chief Running Bull, a prominent member of the Yankton tribe. He rarely missed his annual summer trip to Wagner to honor his tribe and ancestors, and of course visit the tribal casino.
He spent his final years near his son Doug and daughter-in-law Peggy in Seattle, WA enjoying many family dinners and holidays with grandkids Charlie and Nora. We will forever remember him for his hard work and humor, his generosity and jokes. He was very loved and truly a gem.
Harlan was proceeded in death by wife Jeanie and son Tom as well as brothers Wayland, Donald and Sylvan and sisters Corrine and Erma. He is survived by his sons Doug and wife Peggy, Seattle, Andy and wife Kippi, Henrico, VA and grandchildren Andrew, Mary Beth, Charlie and Nora. He is also survived by sisters Lois Pinkus, Carol Howe and brother Lyle, all of Chicago.
A graveside service will be held at the Chemawa Indian School Cemetery in Salem, OR at 11am June 15, followed by a reception.
Published in The Statesman Journal on May 31, 2019.