Published on Thu, Jul 8, 2010
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Naselle, Washington resident A. R. “Dick” Grabenhorst, 88, died in Longview, Washington on June 30, 2010. The son of Albert and Letica (Frink) Grabenhorst, he was born in Flasher, North Dakota on April 4, 1922. At age 18 months he moved with his family to Onalaska, Washington where his father worked in a local mill. Dick attended Onalaska High School until joining the US Navy in 1940 where he served during World War II as a gunner’s mate aboard the USS New Mexico and USS Hollandia until honorably discharged in 1946. Following his military duty Dick returned to Onalaska where he completed high school. He attended Centralia College, graduated from the University of Puget Sound where he earned his teaching certificate and bachelor’s degree. At Western Washington University he earned his secondary principal’s certification and at the University of Washington he obtained his superintendent’s credentials and masters degree. Dick began his career in education as a teacher and coach at Onalaska High School for two years. In 1953 he moved to Naselle to become principal of Naselle High School. A year later he became superintendent of the Naselle-Grays River school district, a position he held for 27 years until retirement. During his professional career Dick was active in the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association serving as District 4 Executive Secretary for 10 years, District 4 Executive Board Member for six years, as president, and had been inducted into the WIAA Hall of Fame as a leader in 1999. Proud of his military service, Dick was a life member of the Barr-Hill-Johnson Post of the American Legion and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was active in Boy Scouts and had achieved a Silver Beaver ranking, the highest volunteer recognition in Scouting. Dick was a charter member of the Naselle Lions Club where he was a past president. Over the years he enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, reading and spending time with his family. He was a long time member of the Community Congregational Church in Naselle where he served as moderator for 11 years and was currently serving as treasurer, a post he had held since 2003. He and Shirley McGee were married September 12, 1943. She preceded him in death in August of 2008. Survivors include his daughters Cheryl (Mike) McIntee of Sacramento, CA, Joan Johnson of Naselle, and Melissa (Paul) Ralston of Vancouver, WA; son Scott (Tammy) Grabenhorst of Silver Lake, WA; brother Gene Grabenhorst of Lincoln City, OR; eight grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. Memorial service was held July 7, 2010, at the Community Congregational Church of Naselle. Private family committal service was at Peaceful Hill Cemetery in Naselle. Memorials are preferred to the Naselle Community Congregational Church, PO Box 186, Naselle, Washington 98638. His guestbook is available at www.penttilaschapel.com.